Being in the room: Reflections on pregnancy options counseling during abortion training

Vanita Kumar, Cara Herbitter, Alison Karasz, Marji Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: The Residency Review Committee requires that family medicine residents learn options counseling for women with unintended pregnancies. This qualitative study identifies important domains for future formal evaluations of pregnancy options counseling by exploring the relevant benefits reported by residents who underwent routine abortion training. To our knowledge, this is the first study of abortion training in family medicine to include an in-depth examination of its benefits in areas that may be important for pregnancy options counseling. Methods: Residents from two urban family medicine residency programs received training in first-trimester aspiration abortion at a high-volume abortion clinic during a routine women's health rotation. Thirty-minute semi-structured interviews were conducted with all 28 residents who rotated between July 2005 and November 2006. A coding scheme was developed and applied to transcripts for analysis. Results: Through exposure to routine abortion training, residents reported improved knowledge, attitudes, and skills that are likely to be important for providing open and informed pregnancy options counseling. These include an understanding of the context of women's lives when they seek abortion care, familiarity with the procedure, and improved self-reported pregnancy options counseling skills. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that exposure to abortion training benefits residents in areas that may be important for providing effective pregnancy options counseling. In addition, residents' reflections on their involvement with patients during the abortion process highlight key domains for future formal evaluations of accurate and nonjudgmental options counseling for unintended pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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