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Keywords:

  • abortion;
  • termination of pregnancy;
  • contraception;
  • first pregnancy;
  • referral source;
  • Australia;
  • time-series;
  • quantitative research

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess emerging trends in five characteristics: age, first ever pregnancy, contraception at time of conception, contraception choices post-operatively and referral source of women presenting for a termination of pregnancy (1996–2006) from a southern service in Adelaide, South Australia.

Method: A time-series study, from 1996 to 2006, using 3,434 cases from a termination of pregnancy service provider. Five characteristics associated with women attending for a termination of pregnancy were examined. Data were analysed using simple linear regression analyses and one-way ANOVA.

Results: There was a significant increase in women aged 30–50 years having a pregnancy terminated (ANOVA F1,9 = 5.901, p=0.041), with 67% of women using contraception at the time of conception. An increasing percentage of women chose not to use any contraception post-operatively (ANOVA F1,9 = 14.409, p=0.006), although 90% of women left the service with contraception. Additionally, there was a significant decline in women using natural family planning methods (ANOVA F1,9 = 13.654, p=0.006). Referral patterns changed significantly over the ten years, with fewer women being referred by a general practitioner (ANOVA F1,9 = 46.492, p=0.000) and family planning clinics (ANOVA F1,9 = 13.011, p=0.007).

Conclusions and implications: Termination of pregnancy patterns from a hospital based regional termination service have changed over the past ten years in this study population. There are implications for policy, strategic plans and health promotion activities in the southern region of Adelaide.