Press Release

Differences Between Medical and Surgical Abortions

On Time Lost From Work

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February 2, 2001 Washington, DC A recent study concluded that women who have medical abortions experienced less time lost from work than women who had surgical abortions. The study, conducted by Ellen Wiebe, MD and Patricia Janssen, BSN, MPH, PhC comparing the effects of medical vs. surgical abortions on time lost from work, was published in the November/December 2000 issue of Women's Health Issues.

The authors compared time lost from work among 62 women having medical and 69 women having surgical abortions. Outcomes included the number of days lost from work outside the home and inside the home before and after the abortion appointment. There was a significant difference between the surgical and medical groups in time lost from work inside the home, 10.1 days for the surgical group and 5.3 days for the medical group. The difference in loss from work outside the home was not significant, 4.0 days for the surgical group and 2.5 days for the medical group.

Women having surgical abortions had a longer waiting period for the procedure compared to women having medical abortions, an average of 10.4 days compared to 3.5 days for the medical group. The time to full recovery after the first abortion appointment was shorter for the surgical group (7.2 days) compared to the medical group (12.9 days).

There are no other published studies comparing sick leave between medical and surgical abortions. The authors conclude that reducing waiting time for surgical abortions could potentially remedy some of the preabortion work loss; reducing side effects and lengthiness of medical abortion protocols could shorten the period of post-abortion disability.

Women's Health Issues is the official publication of The Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge, practice, and understanding of women's health.

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For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Steve Fitzer
The Jacobs Institute
(202) 863-4989