Delays in request for pregnancy termination: comparison of patients in the first and second trimesters

Contraception. 2010 May;81(5):446-51. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2009.12.021. Epub 2010 Feb 10.


Background: Despite the availability of first trimester abortion services in urban settings, many women request abortion in the second trimester. We identified protective and risk factors associated with women who delay requesting abortions until the second trimester.

Study design: The study was a cross-sectional survey of 247 patients requesting surgical abortion at an urban family planning clinic. Survey and medical records data were analyzed for associations between 18 risk factors and incidence of second trimester request.

Results: Thirty-two percent of subjects presented in the second trimester. Chi-square analyses revealed that first trimester participants were more often employed (p<.0001), privately insured (p=.01), or had previous abortions (p=.04). Second trimester patients were younger (p<.0001), more often primigravid (p=.04), experienced more difficulty financing the procedure (p<.0001) and finding a surgeon (p<.0001), traveled longer distances (p=.005), and more often feared the procedure (p=.03). Using multiple logistic regression, women requesting second trimester abortions were more likely to report: obstacles financing the abortion (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.28-4.28); traveling long distances (OR 2.88, 95% CI 1.31-6.31); and fear (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.17-5.17). These women were less often employed outside the home (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.19-0.64).

Conclusions: Physicians and advocates must strive to reduce abortion costs, increase access to trained surgeons, and allay women's fears of abortion procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second*
  • Young Adult