Objective: To explore the experiences of women in Scotland who return home to complete medical termination of pregnancy (TOP) ≤63 days of gestation, after being administered with mifepristone and misoprostol at an NHS TOP clinic.
Design: Qualitative interview study.
Setting: One National Health Service health board (administrative) area in Scotland.
Population or sample: Women in Scotland who had undergone medical TOP ≤63 days, and self-managed passing the pregnancy at home; recruited from three clinics in one NHS health board area between January and July 2014.
Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews with 44 women in Scotland who had recently undergone TOP ≤63 days of gestation, and who returned home to pass the pregnancy. Data were analysed thematically using an approach informed by the Framework method.
Main outcome measures: Women's experiences of self-management of TOP ≤63 days of gestation.
Results: Key themes emerging from the analysis related to self-administration of misoprostol in clinic; reasons for choosing home self-management; facilitation of self-management and expectation-setting; experiences of getting home; self-managing and monitoring treatment progress; support for self-management (in person and remotely); and pregnancy self-testing to confirm completion.
Conclusions: Participants primarily found self-administration of misoprostol and home self-management to be acceptable and/or preferable, particularly where this was experienced as a decision made jointly with health professionals. The way in which home self-management is presented to women at clinic requires ongoing attention. Women could benefit from the option of home administration of misoprostol.
Tweetable abstract: Women undergoing medical TOP 63 days found home self-management to be acceptable and/or preferable.
Keywords: First trimester medical/medication abortion; home self-management; qualitative research; termination of pregnancy; women's experiences.
© 2017 The Authors. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published by John Wiley& Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.