August 23rd, 2019

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Women’s Experiences Using Natural Methods to Cope with the Pain and Other Symptoms of Medical Abortions
Authors:  Ellen R. Wiebe, M.D., Siavash Jafari, M.D., Beata Byczko, M.D., and Jenn Zelmer, B.A.
  OBJECTIVE: To understand how women used strategies other than medications to deal with the pain and other symptoms of medical abortion.

STUDY DESIGN: A survey asking about pain and other symptoms of the medical abortion, as well as which of the pain medications and alternative methods of pain relief they had used.

RESULTS: Of 200 consecutive women arriving for their follow-up visit after a medical abortion, 177 completed questionnaires (88.5% response rate). More than half of the women experienced nausea, anxiety, fever/chills, and weakness with the abortion, and the mean worst pain score reported was 5.2/10 (median=6). Most women took at least some of the medications they were given. In addition, there were 63/177 (35.6%) women who used heat and 54/55 (98.2%) said it helped; 37/177 (20.9%) who said they used relaxation and 28/30 (93.3%) said it helped; 57/177 (32.2%) who said they used distraction and 44/49 (89.8%) said it helped; and 12/177 (6.8%) who used cannabis and 9/11 (81.8%) said it helped.

CONCLUSION: Integrating medications with using trusted nonmedication methods such as heat, rest, and distraction were found helpful by the women going through medical abortions.
Keywords:  abortion, legal; abortion on demand; alternative medicine; alternative therapies; anxiety; induced abortion; medical abortion; natural; nausea; pain
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