Who has a repeat abortion? Identifying women at risk of repeated terminations of pregnancy: analysis of routinely collected health care data

Stephen J. McCall, Gillian Flett, Emmanuel Okpo, Sohinee Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Repeat termination of pregnancy highlights the issues of unplanned pregnancies and effective post-termination contraceptive practices.

To examine the risk factors at the time of a first termination that are associated with subsequent repeat termination.

Registry-based study.

Grampian region of Scotland, UK.

A retrospective study using data from the Termination of Pregnancy Database, NHS Grampian for the period 1997–2013. Associations between repeat termination and women’s sociodemographic characteristics and contraceptive use were assessed using multivariable logistic regression models.

This study showed that 23.4% of women who had an initial termination (n=13 621) underwent a repeat termination. Women who had repeat terminations were more likely to be aged under 20 years at their initial termination with an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 5.59 [95% confidence interval (CI) 4.17–7.49], to belong to the most deprived social quintile [AOR 1.23 (95% CI 1.05–1.43)], and to be more likely to have had two or more previous livebirths [AOR 1.51 (95% CI 1.12–2.02)] or miscarriages [AOR 1.40 (95% CI 1.02–1.92)]. The likelihood of having a repeat termination was increased in women who had a contraceptive implant as post-termination contraception [AOR 1.78 (95% CI 1.50–2.11)] compared to women who left with none or unknown methods following the first termination. In those who had repeat terminations, women who had an implant or Depo-Provera® were at increased odds of repeat termination in the 2–5 years interval compared to the 0–2 years after their initial termination.

Teenage pregnancy, social deprivation, two or more previous livebirths or miscarriages at the time of the initial termination were identified as risk factors for repeat terminations. Post-termination contraception with implants and Depo-Provera® were associated with repeat termination 2–5 years after the first termination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care
Issue number2
Early online date7 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Authors’ thanks goes to Mr Peter Szchechina and Mr Alastair Soutar for extracting the data for this study and to Prof Allan Templeton for initiating the TOPS database in Grampian and for critically evaluating the manuscript.


  • abortion
  • epidemiology
  • long-acting reversible contraception


Dive into the research topics of 'Who has a repeat abortion? Identifying women at risk of repeated terminations of pregnancy: analysis of routinely collected health care data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this