Background: Women seeking termination of pregnancy in Auckland, New Zealand can chose between medical and surgical options up to eight weeks gestation.
Aims: To assess demographic differences or changes over time between proportions of women choosing medical or surgical abortions at a single centre and determine whether changing the mifepristone–misoprostol interval from two to one day impacted on outcomes.
Methods: Retrospective audit of two consecutive years (December 2005–November 2006 and December 2006–November 2007) of first‐trimester surgical and medical terminations where the mifepristone‐misoprostol interval was reduced from two to one day between years. Analysis using descriptive statistics and assessment of probability of observed differences between groups.
Results: A total of 1495 terminations were performed in 2005–2006 and 1588 in 2006–2007. No significant difference (P = 0.4) of eligible women choosing medical (21% and 23%) or surgical abortion between years. Ethnicity, age and residency status did not influence choice. Medical termination of pregnancy was more likely in women who were without previous children (P = 0.009), pregnancies (P = 0.02) or terminations (P = 0.04). Medical termination was similarly effective within six hours with either two‐ or one‐day intervals.
Conclusions: Both medical and surgical first‐trimester abortions are safe and effective. It is optimal to be able to offer women choice. Reducing the medical interval to one day does not increase adverse outcomes.