Genital infection and termination of pregnancy: Are patients still at risk?

J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2001 Apr;27(2):81-4. doi: 10.1783/147118901101195308.


Objectives: To identify the treatment patterns and early complication rates in women identified with a genital infection prior to a termination of pregnancy (TOP) and to re-assess our earlier work on contact attendance and treatment. The aim was to refine current prophylactic measures to provide the most efficient and effective way of reducing post-termination complications.

Method: Six-month retrospective analysis of all women with genital Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae identified prior to TOP. Data on the timing of positive results and treatment in relation to the TOP were recorded. Clinical signs of pelvic infection and the success of contact tracing and treatment were noted.

Results: Forty women were identified with infection, 31 (78%) proceeded to TOP; only five were treated adequately in the peri-TOP period. Twenty-six (84%) of the women undergoing TOP attended the genitourinary medicine (GUM) department after the TOP and received antimicrobial therapy where necessary. In total, four women (10%) were untreated. Approximately two thirds of results were reported prior to, or on the day of, the TOP. The majority of TOPs (71%) were carried out at 5 days or less from the initial assessment. Clinical signs of post-TOP pelvic inflammation developed in seven (28%) women with chlamydial infection. Contact tracing was successful in 24 (69%) of the 35 women who attended the GUM department.

Conclusion: The debate about the best option for the most effective management of women undergoing TOP continues. The options with respect to C. trachomatis include universal prophylaxis, screening and treating as necessary, or a 'belt and braces' approach of screening all and treating all. Fundamental is the continuation of active contact tracing and GUM remains integral to this.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / drug therapy*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents