Indications leading to termination of pregnancy between 22+0 and 31+6 weeks of gestational age in France: A population-based cohort study

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2019 Feb:233:12-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2018.11.021. Epub 2018 Dec 3.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence and indications of terminations of pregnancy (TOP) between 22+0 and 31+6 weeks of gestational age in France and to examine the characteristics of women by indication of TOP.

Study design: From the EPIPAGE 2 population-based cohort study of preterm births in France in 2011, we selected 5009 singleton live births, stillbirths and TOP that occurred between 22 and 31 weeks. We estimated the proportion of TOP by gestational age. We then classified terminations by indications into 4 categories: fetal anomalies (TOPFA), preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM), maternal conditions and fetal growth restriction (FGR). We also classified TOPFA by type of anomaly. Maternal characteristics were compared between TOPFA and TOP for maternal or fetal conditions without congenital anomaly.

Results: 23.1% of all births and 54.3% of stillbirths were terminations. The proportion of terminations was 36.9% of all births at 22 weeks, 50.2% at 24 weeks and <10% at 30-31 weeks. 85.8% of terminations were for fetal anomaly, 4.4% for PPROM, 6.1% for maternal complications and 3.7% for severe FGR. Compared to women with a TOPFA, those with a termination for maternal or fetal conditions were more often nulliparous, single, African, obese, smokers and covered by non-standard insurance for women in socially deprived circumstances.

Conclusion: In France, there is a high proportion of TOP of which 14% are for indications other than congenital anomalies. Because rates of terminations have an impact on very preterm birth and perinatal mortality rates, studies on pregnancy outcome should report all terminations, not only those for congenital anomalies.

Keywords: EPIPAGE 2; Preterm births; Stillbirths; Terminations of pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / epidemiology
  • France / epidemiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Live Birth / epidemiology*
  • Perinatal Mortality*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult