Medication abortion - School of Medicine

First Trimester
Bleeding and Abortion
UNC School of Medicine
Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship
Case Based Seminar Series
Gretchen S. Stuart, MD, MPHTM
Amy G. Bryant, MD
Jennifer H. Tang, MD
Erika E. Levi, MD
Family Planning Program, Dept Ob/Gyn, UNC-Chapel Hill
Updated May 2012
 Develop a differential for first trimester vaginal bleeding
 Differentiate the types of spontaneous abortion (missed,
complete, incomplete, threatened, septic)
 Describe the causes of spontaneous abortion
 List the management options for spontaneous abortion
 Describe reasons for induced abortion
 List methods of induced abortion
 Understand the public health impact of the legal status of
Most Common Differential Diagnosis of
1st Trimester Bleeding
Ectopic pregnancy
Normal intrauterine pregnancy
Threatened abortion
Abnormal intrauterine pregnancy
Diagnosis tools for early pregnancy
 Urine pregnancy test (UPT)
 Accurate on first day of expected menses
 βhCG
 6-8 days after ovulation – present
 Date of expected menses (@14 days after ovulation) –
βhCG is100 IU/L
 Within first 30 days – βhCG doubles every 48-72 hours
 Important for pregnancy diagnosis prior to
ultrasound diagnosis
Diagnostic tools for early pregnancy
Transvaginal ultrasound
Estimated βhCG values and associated findings on
transvaginal ultrasound in early pregnancy
βhCG (IU/L)
5 wks
Gestational sac
6 wks
Fetal pole
7 wks
Cardiac motion
Diagnosis of Spontaneous Abortion (SAB)
or Early Pregnancy Failure (EPF)
 SAB/EPF if
 Ultrasound measurements are:
 5mm CRL and no fetal heart rate
 10mm Mean Sac Diameter and no yolk sac
 20mm Mean Sac Diameter and no fetal pole
 Change in βhCG is
 <15% rise in βhCG over 48 hours
 Gestational sac growth <2mm over 5 days
 Gestational sac growth <3mm over 7 days
Diagnosis of threatened abortion
 Diagnosis made by ultrasound and/or ßhCG – normally
growing early pregnancy, but with vaginal bleeding
 More formal definition:
 Vaginal bleeding before the 20th week
 Bleeding in early pregnancy with no pregnancy loss
Spontaneous Abortion (SAB)
Early Pregnancy Failure (EPF)
 SAB (spontaneous abortion):
 Usually refers to first 20 weeks
 Abortion in the absence of an intervention
 If fetus dies in uterus after 20wks GA
 Called a fetal demise or stillbirth
Types of SAB/EPF
 Complete
 Incomplete: cervix open, some tissue has passed
 Inevitable: intrauterine pregnancy with cervical dilation &
vaginal bleeding
 Chemical pregnancy: +βhcg but no sac formed
 Blighted ovum/anembryonic pregnancy: empty gestational sac,
embryo never formed
 Missed: embryo never formed or demised, but uterus hasn’t
expelled the sac
 Septic: missed/incomplete abortion becomes infected
Epidemiology and etiology
 Epidemiology
 15-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies
 Offer reassurance: probability of 2 consecutive
miscarriages is 2.25%
 85% of women will conceive and have normal third
pregnancy if with same partner
 80% in the first 12 weeks
 Etiologies
 Chromosomal
 Non-chromosomal
SAB/EPF: Chromosomal Etiologies
 50% due to chromosomal abnormalities
 50% trisomies
 50% triploidy, tetraploidy, X0
50% Non-Chromosomal Etiologies
 Maternal systemic disease
 Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, lupus, coagulation
 Infectious factors
 Brucella, chlamydia, mycoplasma, listeria, toxoplasma,
malaria, tuberculosis
 Endocrine factors
 DM, hypothyroidism, “luteal phase defect” from
progesterone deficiency
50% Non-Chromosomal Etiologies
 Abnormal placentation
 Anatomic considerations (fibroids, polyps, septum,
bicornuate uterus, incompetent cervix, Asherman’s)
 Environmental factors
 Smoking >20 cigarettes per day (increased 4X)
 Alcohol >7 drinks/week (increased 4X)
 Increasing age
Outcomes and management of threatened
 Outcomes
 25-50% will progress to spontaneous abortion
 However – if the pregnancy is far enough along that an
ultrasound can confirm a live pregnancy then 94% will go on to
deliver a live baby
 Management
 Reassurance
 Pelvic rest has not been shown to improve outcome
Management of spontaneous abortion
Uterine evacuation by suction
2. Uterine evacuation by medication
Surgical management SAB/EPF
Manual vacuum aspiration
 Ensures POCs are fully evacuated
 Minimal anesthesia needed
 Comfortable for women due to low noise level
 Portable for use in physician office familiar to the
 Women very satisfied with method
MVA Label. Ipas. 2007.
Surgical management SAB/EPF
Electric Vacuum Aspirator
Electric vacuum aspirator
 Uses an electric pump or suction
machine connected via flexible
Creinin MD, et al. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2001.; Goldberg AB, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2004.; Hemlin J, et al. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand.
Pain Management
 Aspiration/vacuum
Support during procedure
Conscious sedation
Paracervical block
 Medication abortion
 Oral narcotics and antiemetics
if necessary
Floating Chorionic Villi
Tissue examination
 Basin for POC
 Fine-mesh kitchen strainer
 Glass pyrex pie dish
 Back light or enhanced light
 Tools to grasp tissue and POC
 Specimen containers
Source: A Clinicians Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion; Paul M, Grimes D, National Abortion Federation, available online Hyman
AG, Castleman L. Ipas. 2005
Comparison of surgical management
Electric pump
Manual aspirator
Not easily
Conscious sedation and paracervical block
350–1,200 cc
60 cc
Not necessary
Dean G, et al. Contraception. 2003.
EVA and MVA risks
and preventing the risks
Uterine perforation
Retained products
<12 wks – 0
Cervical preparation
Intra-Op Ultrasound
Efficient completion of procedure
Gritty texture
Examine POC
Prophylactic antibiotics
PO doxy or IV cephalosporin
N/a – unpredictable
Immediate re-aspiration required
Medication management
 Misoprostol
 Synthetic prostaglandin E1 analog
 Inexpensive
 Orally active
 Multiple effective routes of administration
 Can be stored safely at room temperature
 Effective at initiating uterine contractions
 Effective at inducing cervical ripening
Misoprostol 800 μg vaginally
Repeat dose on day 2 or 3 if indicated
Pelvic U/S to confirm empty uterus
Consider vacuum aspiration if expulsion
Zhang J, et al. N Engl J Med. 2005.
Creinin MD, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2006.
Efficacy: Medication vs. Expectant
600 μg
Success by day 2
Success by day 7
Bagratee JS, et al. Hum Reprod. 2004.
Induced Abortion/Pregnancy Termination
 Personal choice
 Medical indication
(hemorrhage, infection)
 Medical recommendation
(SLE, Pulmonary HTN, PPROM)
 Fetus diagnosed with
Elective abortion
Therapeutic abortion
Interruption of pregnancy
 The removal of a fetus or
embryo from the uterus before
the stage of viability
 Dependent upon gestational
age and provider abilities
Induced Abortion History
 Any discussion of abortion needs to include some of the
legal and political aspects
 Providers should be familiar with the abortion laws in their
own states
 Providers performing abortions must know the laws in
their own state
Induced Abortion History
 1821 – First abortion law enacted in Connecticut
 Bars abortion after “quickening”, but definitions vague
 1973 – Roe v. Wade
 Woman’s constitutional right of privacy
 The government cannot prohibit or interfere with abortion
without a “compelling” reason
 1976 – Hyde Amendment
 Forbids use of federal money to pay for almost any abortion
under Medicaid
 Some states have reinstated state funding (NY, VT, CA among
Induced Abortion
 1 in 3 women by the age of 44 years
 1/3 occur in women older than 24 years
 Gestational age:
 90% within first 12 weeks
 50% within first 8 weeks
 Complications
Dependent upon gestational age
7-10 weeks have lowest complication rates
mortality: 1/100,000
Complications are 3-4x higher for second-trimester than first
Putting Induced Abortion
into Perspective…
Terminating pregnancy < 9 weeks
Chance of death
1 in 500,000
Terminating pregnancy > 20 weeks
1 in 8,000
Giving birth
1 in 7,600
Driving an automobile
1 in 5,900
Using a tampon
1 in 350,000
Gold RB, Richards C. Issues Sci Technol. 1990.; Hatcher RA. Contracept Technol Update. 1998.; Mokdad AH, et al. MMWR Recomm
Rep. 2003.
Earlier Procedures are Safer
Abortions at < 8 weeks = lowest risk of death
Gestational Age
Strongest risk factor
for abortion-related
Weeks Gestation
9 to 10
11 to 12
≤8 weeks
13 to 15
16 to 20
Bartlet L, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2004.
Induced Abortion
 Methods:
 Uterine evacuation (basically the same as treatment of
abortion; however, the cervix is closed)
 Manual vacuum aspiration
 Electric vacuum aspiration
 Medication
 Mifepristone and misoprostol
Medical abortion
 Mifepristone
 19-norsteroid that specifically blocks
the receptors for progesterone and
 Antagonizing effect blocks the
relaxation effects of progesterone
 Results in uterine contractions
 Pregnancy disruption
 Dilation and softening of the
 Increases the sensitivity of the
uterus to prostaglandin analogs by
an approximate factor of five
 Takes 24-48 hours for this to occur
 Misoprostol
 Synthetic prostaglandin E1 analog
 Inexpensive
 Orally active
 Multiple effective routes of
 Can be stored safely at room
 Effective at initiating uterine
 Effective at inducing cervical ripening
 Used in decreasing doses as
pregnancy advances
Medical abortion protocols
1. Mifepristone 200-600 mg orally, administered in clinic
2. Misoprostol 400-800 mcg orally or buccally 24-48h later
3. Evaluate with ultrasound 13-16 days later to confirm completion
Complete abortion rate
Time to expulsion
(after misoprostol)
within 4 hours
< 56
within 24 hours
< 63
Gestational age
< 49
WHO Task Force. BJOG. 2000.; Peyron R, et al. N Engl J Med. 1993.
Spitz IM, et al. N Engl J Med. 1998; Winikoff B, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997.
2nd Trimester Induced Abortion
 Epidemiology
 14 weeks gestation and above
 96% done by Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
 4% done by labor induction
2nd Trimester Induced Abortion
 Etiology
 Social indications
 Delay in diagnosis
 Delay in finding a provider
 Delay in obtaining funding
 Teenagers most likely to delay
 Fetal anomalies
 Genetic such as Trisomy 13, 18, 21
 Anatomic such as cardiac defects
 Neural tube such as anencephaly
2nd Trimester Induced Abortion
 Discuss pain management
 Informed Consent
 Discuss contraception – even those with abnormal or
wanted pregnancy may not want to follow immediately with
another pregnancy
 Ovulation can occur 14-21 days after a second trimester
abortion; risk of pregnancy is great and must be addressed
 Lactation can occur between days 3-7 postabortion
 Procedure
 Follow-up
Nyoboe et al 1990
2nd trimester induced abortion
Dilation and evacuation
Labor induction abortion
Two visits in 1-2 days
Requires inpatient hospital stay
usually lasting 1-3 days
Anesthesia/analgesia required
Average time to delivery 13 hrs
Procedure room required
Increased likelihood of retained
placenta resulting in uterine
evacuation compared to D&E
Skilled surgeon
Medication used misoprostol
and/or mifepristone
Laminaria placement required before
D&E risks and prevention
Uterine perforation
Retained products
13-15 wks: 12
17-25 wks: 21
Cervical preparation
Intra-Op Ultrasound
Adequate anesthesia
Paracervical block which includes vasopressin 4 units.
Efficient completion of procedure
Ultrasound, Gritty texture
Examine POC
Prophylactic antibiotics
PO doxy or IV cephalosporin
n/a – unpredictable
Immediate re-aspiration required
Requirements for a safe D&E Program
Surgeons skilled and experienced in D&E provision
Adequate pain control options with appropriate monitoring
Requisite instruments available
Staff skilled in patient education, counseling, care and
 Established procedures at free standing facilities for
transferring patients who require emergency hospital-based
D&E Step 1
cervical Preparation
 Laminaria
 Osmotic dilators
 Dried compressed seaweed sticks,
5-10mm diameter in size
 4-19 dilators can be placed
 Slow swelling to exert slow
circumferential pressure and dilation
 1-2 days prior to procedure
 Paracervical block with 20cc 0.25%
Adequate anesthesia
Ultrasound guidance
Uterine evacuation using suction and instruments
Paracervical block with 20cc 0.5% lidocaine and
4U vasopressin to decrease blood loss
Labor Induction Abortion
 One office visit – then hospital admission
 Hypertonic saline amnioinfusion, intracardiac KCl,
intra-amniotic digoxin to induce fetal death
 Misoprostol or misoprostol and mifepristone to cause
contractions and uterine evacuation
 20% may require vacuum aspiration for retained
Labor Induction Abortion
 Patient is awake
 Can obtain analgesia for pain
 Fetus delivered intact
 Often only option for obese women
Bottom Line Concepts
 First trimester bleeding occurs in 25% of all pregnancies and 25-50%
will progress to a spontaneous abortion
 Etiologies of first trimester bleeding include normal pregnancy,
spontaneous abortion/early pregnancy failure, or ectopic pregnancy.
 Diagnosis of normal vs abnormal early pregnancy made using physical
exam and ultrasound and/or ßhCG
 50% of spontaneous abortions are the result of genetic abnormalities
 Management of spontaneous abortion can be medical or surgical and
surgical options can be in the operating room or in the clinic
 1/3 women will have an induced abortion
 Induced abortion before 8 weeks is safest
 Risks associated with induced abortion are less than childbirth or
driving a car
 Methods for induced abortion include medication or surgical
Case No. 1
 24yo G1P0 presents to your office and reports
spotting dark blood for 4 days.
 What are your initial history questions?
 What steps will you take to make the final
Case No. 1 Continued
 On the ultrasound exam you note a CRL consistent with 8
weeks but no cardiac motion.
– What kind of abortion does she have?
– What proportion of clinically recognized pregnancies will end in
spontaneous abortion?
– What proportions of spontaneous abortions are due to
chromosomal abnormalities?
– What are some of the non-chromosomal etiologies of
spontaneous abortion?
– What are her options for management?
– What are the advantages of each option?
Case No. 2
32yo G2P1 presents with lower abdominal pain,
vaginal spotting, and an LMP 6 weeks ago.
 What’s in your differential diagnosis?
 What pertinent things about her history
would you like to know?
 What would you look for on physical
 What labs/imaging studies would you
Case No. 2 Continued
Her BHCG returns as 3200 and a pelvic ultrasound
does not demonstrate an intrauterine pregnancy
 What is her likely diagnosis?
 What are some risk factors for this
 What are her treatment options?
 What would you tell her about future
Case No. 3
27yo G5P4 with LMP 8 wks ago presents with fever
to 101.4, abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding
 What is in your differential diagnosis?
 What are your initial history questions?
 What pertinent findings might you look for
on physical exam?
Case No. 3 Continued
The patient states that she “took a pill to make her
period come down” a couple weeks ago and has had
spotting ever since. The fever started last night, and
the bleeding has now gotten heavier. On exam, her
os is open and she has purulent discharge. She also
has fundal tenderness.
 What kind of abortion does she have?
 What risk factors does she have for this diagnosis?
 What are her options for management?
Case No. 4
A 38 year-old G1P0 with an IVF pregnancy at 16wks
presents to discuss the results of her recent fetal survey,
which shows fetal anencephaly. You know that most
anencephalic fetuses do not survive birth.
 How do you counsel this patient?
 What are her options for management?
 What questions do you ask her to help her make a
decision for management?
 How would you counsel the patient if the ultrasound
showed features consistent with Trisomy 21 instead of
References and Resources
 APGO Medical Student Educational Objectives, 9th edition, (2009),
Educational Topic 16 (p34-35), 34 (72-73)
 Beckman & Ling: Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6th edition, (2010),
Charles RB Beckmann, Frank W Ling, Barabara M Barzansky, William
NP Herbert, Douglas W Laube, Roger P Smith. Chapter 13 (p147-150).
 Hacker & Moore: Hacker and Moore's Essentials of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, 5th edition (2009), Neville F Hacker, Joseph C Gambone,
Calvin J Hobel. Chapter 7 (p74-78).

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