Background: Today, a large proportion of early abortions are medical terminations, in accordance to the woman's choice. Intrauterine contraceptives (IUC) provide highly effective, reversible, long-acting contraception. However, the effects of timing of IUC insertion after medical abortion are not known.
Methods: Women undergoing medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol up to 63 days gestation and opting for IUC were randomised to early insertion (day 5-9 after mifepristone) or delayed (routine) insertion (at 3-4 weeks after mifepristone). The primary outcome was the rate of IUC expulsion at six months after IUC insertion.
Results: A total of 129 women were randomized, and 116 women had a successful IUC insertion. There was no difference in expulsion rate between early (9.7%) vs. delayed (7.4%) IUC insertion (risk difference -9.2-13.4). Furthermore, 1.5% of women randomized to early and 11.5% to delayed insertion did not attend the follow up (proportion difference 10.0%, 95% CI: 1.8-20.6%, p = 0.015), and a higher proportion of women (41%) had had unprotected intercourse prior to returning for insertion in the delayed group compared with the early group (16%) (p = 0.015). Adverse events were rare and did not differ between the groups.
Conclusions: Early insertion of IUC after medical abortion was safe and well tolerated with no increased incidence for expulsions or complications. Women were more likely to return for the IUC insertion if scheduled early after the abortion, and less likely to have had an unprotected intercourse prior to the IUC insertion. Early insertion should be offered as a routine for women undergoing first trimester medical abortion.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01537562.