Expectant management of incomplete abortion in the first trimester

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009 Jul;106(1):35-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2009.02.018. Epub 2009 Mar 28.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of expectant management of induced and spontaneous first trimester incomplete abortion.

Methods: A prospective observational trial, conducted between June 2006 and November 2007, of 2 groups of patients diagnosed with an incomplete abortion: 66 patients who had received misoprostol for an induced abortion (group 1) and 30 patients who had had a spontaneous abortion (group 2). Transvaginal ultrasound was performed weekly. The success rate (complete abortion without surgery), time to resolution, duration of bleeding and pelvic pain, rate of infection, number of unscheduled hospital visits, and level of satisfaction with expectant management were recorded.

Results: The incidence of complete abortion was 86.4% and 82.1% in groups 1 and 2 respectively at day 14 after diagnosis, and 100% in both groups at day 30 (two group 2 patients underwent curettage and were excluded from the analysis). Both groups reported 100% satisfaction with expectant management, although over 90% of the women reported feeling anxious.

Conclusion: Expectant management for incomplete abortion in the first trimester after use of misoprostol or after spontaneous abortion may be practical and feasible, although it may increase anxiety associated with the impending abortion.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Abortion, Incomplete / diagnostic imaging
  • Abortion, Incomplete / therapy*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / diagnostic imaging
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Misoprostol / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology
  • Pelvic Pain / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Misoprostol