Meta Lindström


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    Selfperception of Swedish gynaecologists performing abortions
    Meta Lindström, Umeå University, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and
    Gynecology, Sweden 
    Background. The Swedish gynecologists possess three decades of experiences of
    working with legal abortion. It is of great importance both for women in society and for the
    gynecologists themselves to learn from their experiences. The aim of our study was to
    describe Swedish gynecologists’ clinical and emotional experiences when working in
    abortion care. Further aims were to elucidate their perception of women’s motives for
    having abortion as well as looking for possible demographic and gender differences.
    Methods. A questionnaire comprising both structured and semi-structured questions was
    sent to a random sample of 269 Swedish gynecologists. The response rate was 85%.
    Results. The female gynecologists were younger (27-59 yrs) and numerically more than
    the males (33-66 yrs). Almost all believed that gynecologists should be involved in abortion
    care, and half were opposed to the privilege of refusing to work with TOP (termination of
    pregnancy). The gynecologists supported the shift from surgical to medical abortions but
    not to them being managed in primary healthcare. A few gynecologists (n=42) had
    considered changing their job because of TOP being part of their work. Misgivings
    occurred sometimes in connection with surgical and late abortions (n=60 and n=108
    respectively). Few gynecologists (n=33) had felt inadequate when encountering abortion
    patients and more than half thought that working with TOP was a positive experience. The
    gynecologists expressed that continuing professional development and ongoing guidance
    of TOP matters were important.
    Conclusions. In general, Swedish gynecologists have no doubts about taking part in and
    performing TOP. However, there are differences in opinions especially regarding surgical
    and late term abortions. Due to the fact that female gynecologists were younger and
    therefore had fewer years of work with TOP comparisons of females’ and males’
    experiences could not be done. Trends of gender differences were noticed concerning the
    right of having possibility to refuse taking part in TOP on personal grounds and with male
    gynecologists feeling to a higher extent inadequacy compared with females meeting the
    abortion seeking women. Gynecologists’ clinical and emotional experience, as expressed
    in this study, as well as their perception of women’s motives for abortions, indicate that
    they have gained deep insights and developed their professionalism in their work with