Second trimester medical abortion – perceptions and experiences
Sammanfattning: Introduction Second-trimester abortions account for 10 - 15 % of all induced abortions worldwide with a wide variation of permits in different countries. In Sweden, second-trimester abortions account for less than 10 % of the total number of induced abortions. The indication can be fetal or socioeconomic. The medical abortion regimen with mifepristone and misoprostol, is the regimen used in Sweden. The treatment with misoprostol often causes painful contractions, and prophylactic as well as additional pain treatments are needed. The median interval from induction with the first dose of misoprostol to expulsion is 5 to 6 hours. A nurse/midwife takes care of the woman during an uncomplicated second-trimester abortion procedure. The aim of this thesis was to improve the care of women undergoing second- trimester medical abortion by increasing the knowledge about women's feelings, thoughts and experiences and nurses/midwives ́ experiences of second-trimester abortion care. Methods and findings Study I was a qualitative study; 21 interviews with nurses/midwives were analyzed using content analysis. Taking care of women undergoing second-trimester medical abortion was perceived as a task that requires professional knowledge, empathy and the ability to reflect on ethical attitudes and considerations. The feeling of supporting women's rights bridged the difficulties nurses/midwives faced in caring for women undergoing second-trimester medical abortion. Study II was cross-sectional. 31 women answered a questionnaire prior the abortion about their expectations and feelings and 23 of them were interviewed after the abortion. The women expressed similar emotions prior the abortion, largely irrespective of the indication to the abortion. Despite strong, conflicting emotions and physical difficult experiences women did not regret their decision to have the abortion. Their rational thinking outweighed their emotional hard feelings. Study III was a mixed-method study with focus on women ́s thoughts and feelings related to the fetus and to viewing the fetus or not. Fifteen of the women from study II were telephone interviewed 6 to 10 months later. Several women expressed thoughts about the fetus prior the abortion. Most women with socioeconomic indication to the abortion no longer expressed any thoughts about the fetus, while women with fetal indication still expressed feelings of sadness over a lost child. Women who had unintentionally or intentionally viewed the fetus did not experience any negative feeling during the telephone interview. Study IV was a randomized controlled trial with 52 women randomized to a paracervical blockade, PCB, with bupivacaine, and 50 women randomized to a PCB with sodium chloride, administered one hour after the first dose of misoprostol. The primary outcome variable, highest pain intensity did not show any differences between the two groups. On a visual analogue scale, VAS from 0 to 10, 65 - 75 % of the participants reported pain as VAS >7. There were no differences in morphine consumption between the groups, or in induction-to abortion interval. The most common side effects were nausea and vomiting in connection to morphine injection, with no differences between the two groups. Conclusions Undergoing second-trimester abortion is a vulnerable and emotionally difficult situation for many women irrespective of the indication for the abortion. They have to be treated with respect, professional knowledge and empathy. Structured work-based training for health care personnel can increase the possibility to offer optimal care for women undergoing second- trimester abortion. A caring encounter with informing guidance from the nurse/midwife and possibility for the women to express concerns and issues is crucial in second-trimester care. To actively ask women prior to the abortion about their emotions, thoughts, feelings and even about the fetus seems to help them to be mentally prepared for what will happen during and after second- trimester abortion. Women should have the chance to choose if they want to view the fetus, irrespective of the indication to the abortion. Second-trimester abortion related pain is a complex experience often with high intensity physical pain. Prophylactic PCB does not statistically significantly reduce maximal pain scores and the need for additional opiates during second-trimester medical abortion.
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