A comparison of termination of pregnancy procedures: Patient choice, emotional impact and satisfaction with care

Jennifer Heath, Natalie Mitchell, Joanne Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To investigate: (1) whether women self-report an ability to choose their preferred termination of pregnancy (TOP) procedure, (2) what factors influence this choice, and (3) what effect this choice has on emotional responses and satisfaction with care. Study design: A mixed-method prospective comparative study in which women requesting a TOP between five and eighteen weeks gestation for social reasons (as opposed to medical indications), were invited to complete a semi-structured pre-TOP interview and questionnaire, and a post-TOP questionnaire four weeks after the procedure. Main outcome measures: Quantitative data was collected using the Patient Health Questionnaire, Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Scale, Impact of Event Scale – Revised, and Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. Results: Pre-TOP emotion-based factors did not differ between groups. Most women felt that they were able to choose their preferred method of TOP. Their decisions were based on factors categorised as procedure-related, lifestyle or social circumstance-related, emotional, or other factors. When no choice was perceived, common reasons reported were that: (1) gestation was too far along for there to be another option, or (2) an appointment was not available within the required timeframe. When women felt that the method of TOP performed was not their choice they found the procedure more stressful. All women reported high satisfaction with care. Conclusion: A better understanding of the patient experience can inform service development, enabling staff to ensure that the services provided meet women's needs. The perception that one is able to choose their preferred TOP procedure is important for reducing procedure-related stress and ensuring high satisfaction with care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalSexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Early online date3 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Abortion
  • Choice
  • Emotional impact
  • Nursing
  • Satisfaction with care
  • Termination


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