Management of early pregnancy failure and induced abortion by family medicine educators

J Am Board Fam Med. 2013 Nov-Dec;26(6):751-8. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2013.06.120248.


Background: Reproductive health care, including treatment of early pregnancy failure (EPF) and induced abortion, is an integral part of patient-centered care provided by family physicians, but data suggest that comprehensive training is not widely available to family medicine residents. The purpose of this study was to assess EPF and induced abortion management practices and attitudes of family medicine physician educators throughout the United States and Canada.

Methods: These data were collected as part of a cross-sectional survey conducted by the Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance that was distributed via E-mail to 3152 practicing physician members of Council of Academic Family Medicine organizations.

Results: The vast majority of respondents (88.2%) had treated EPF, whereas few respondents (15.3%) had provided induced medication or aspiration abortions. Of those who had treated EPF, most had offered medication management (72.7%), whereas a minority had provided aspiration management (16.4%). Almost all respondents (95%) agreed that EPF management is within the scope of family medicine, and nearly three-quarters (73.2%) agreed that early induced abortion is within the scope of family medicine.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that family physician educators are more experienced with EPF management than elective abortion. Given the overlap of skills needed for provision of these services, there is the potential to increase the number of family physician faculty members providing induced abortions.

Keywords: Abortion (Induced); Graduate Medical Education; Miscarriage; Women's Health.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / education*
  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Physicians, Family / education
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Reproductive Health*
  • United States / epidemiology