Family Medicine March 2008; Volume 40, Number 3, 204-207
Given the high prevalence of unintended pregnancy and early pregnancy failure, family physicians frequently encounter these clinical problems. Early abortion care and miscarriage management are within the scope of family medicine, yet few family medicine residency programs’ curricula routinely include training in these skills. Comprehensive reproductive health education for family physicians could benefit patients by improving access to safe care for unintended pregnancy and early pregnancy loss and by improving continuity of care, especially for rural and low-income women. By promoting reflection on conflicts between personal beliefs and responsibility to patients, training in options counseling and abortion care fosters patient-centered care and informed decision making. Managing pregnancy loss and termination also improves skills in patient-centered counseling and primary care gynecology. Multiple studies document the feasibility and success of several training models for abortion and miscarriage management in family medicine. Incorporating comprehensive reproductive health care into family medicine residency training enables family physicians to provide a full range of reproductive health services.