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Self-managed abortion in the literature: a systematic scoping review

Cite this dataset

Moseson, Heidi et al. (2019). Self-managed abortion in the literature: a systematic scoping review [Dataset]. Dryad.


Self-managed abortion, when a person performs their own abortion without clinical supervision, is a model of abortion care used across a range of settings. To provide a comprehensive synthesis of the available literature on self-managed abortion, we conducted a systematic search for peer-reviewed research in April 2019 in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Popline, PsycINFO, Google Scholar, Scielo, and Redalyc. We included studies that had a research question focused on self-managed abortion; and were published in English or Spanish. The combined search returned 7,167 studies; after screening, 99 studies were included in the analysis. Included studies reported on methods, procurement, characteristics of those who self-managed, effectiveness, safety, reasons for self-managed abortion, and emotional and physical experiences. Numerous abortion methods were reported, most frequently abortion with pills and herbs. Eight out of nine studies reported an effectiveness of 70% or higher for self-managed medication abortion with misoprostol alone or in combination with mifepristone, at gestations ranging from <7 to >13 weeks. We identify gaps in the research, and make recommendations to address those gaps.

Usage notes

Table 3: Sociodemographic and other characteristics reported in the literature about people who self-managed an abortion

Table 4: Reasons reported in included studies for self-managing an abortion

Table 5: Emotional experiences with self-managed abortion reported in included studies

Appendix 1: Systematic review search strategy