To establish the safety and efficacy of misoprostol for second-trimester termination of pregnancy among women with one or more previous cesarean deliveries.
In a retrospective study, data were reviewed from women attending a reproductive health clinic in Bloemfontein, South Africa, for second-trimester termination between 2010 and 2013. The study group, comprising women with one or more previous cesareans, was compared with a control group, comprising women with no previous cesarean or uterine scarring. Procedure-specific information was compared, including misoprostol use, termination duration, need for other methods (e.g. oxytocin), placenta delivery, termination outcome, and bleeding.
The study group comprised 268 women: 231 (86.2%) with one and 37 (13.8%) with two previous cesareans. The control group comprised 266 women. Incomplete abortion was recorded in 223 (85.4%) of 261 women in the study group and 213 (80.4%) of 265 in the control group. The number of women with retained placenta was higher in the study than in the control group (158/261 [60.5%] vs 146/265 [55.1%]; P less than 0.001. Severe bleeding was observed only in the control group (7/266 [2.6%]). No uterine rupture was observed.
Misoprostol was safe for second-trimester termination among women with previous cesareans; however, the efficacy of the local regimen was reduced owing to high placental retention.