Repeat abortion in Denmark

Dan Med Bull. 1992 Feb;39(1):89-91.


A study of 50 women undergoing first-time induced abortion and 50 women undergoing second-time induced abortion is reported. Although repeat aborters can not be characterised as a special group of women, it is important that initiatives be taken to reduce the incidence of repeat induced abortion. A suggestion for possible intervention is a thorough post-abortion contraceptive counselling and follow up of women who undergo initial induced abortion. Further general improvement in sex education and use of contraceptive methods is necessary. In this area, avoidance of risk-taking is very important as well as caution during periods of change from one contraceptive method to another. Generally, use of contraceptive methods with a very high effectiveness must be recommended, i.e. oral contraceptives, IUDs, and sterilisation.

PIP: Repeat abortion in Denmark is analyzed with data from interviews from 100 women 18 years of whom 50 were admitted to the Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, for a 1st and 50 for a 2nd termination of an unwanted pregnancy. The purpose of the study is to determine whether there are any characteristics in common between women having a 1st and 2nd abortion. Interviews were conducted before the scheduled abortion and were concerned with demographic and socioeconomic items, knowledge and attitudes concerning contraception, and the decision making process relating to abortion. 2nd-time aborters were younger when they had their 1st abortion, and were more likely to live alone, and to be unemployed. More 1st-time aborters are students. Differences in reactions to the confirmation of pregnancy were not significant. Quality of the relationship was the same, i.e., 58-60% considered the relationship good, but situations did not allow for another child. Partner's reaction to the pregnancy was more positive for men. The reasons for abortion are similar for 1st-time and 2nd-time aborters. 52% had doubts about the 1st abortion, and 24% had doubts about the 2nd. Women took the initiative to discuss the possibility of abortion in 9 out of 10 cases. Both 1st-time and 2nd-time aborters took chances with contraception, i.e., 58% of 1st-time and 64% of 2nd-time aborters and 40% of both often took chances. The general conclusion is that 2nd-time aborters are more similar than dissimilar to 1st-time aborters, which supports previous findings. It is not generally possible to identify 1st-time aborters from 2nd-time aborters. In order to avoid unwanted pregnancy, correct use of contraceptive methods, extra care during periods of change of methods, and avoidance of risk taking is suggested. Thorough counseling about contraception is necessary as well as postabortion counseling. Followup of 1st-time aborters and recommendation of methods with high effectiveness is another suggestion in order to reduce the incidence of repeat induced abortion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual* / psychology
  • Abortion, Induced* / psychology
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / psychology
  • Risk Factors