Jill Durocher

Exploring Potential Interest in Missed Period Pills in Two US States

September 9th, 2020
Period Pills
Sheldon W, Mary M, Harris L, Starr K, Winikoff B

Contraception; 2020 Dec; 102(6):414-420; doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2020.08.014

Objective: Missed period pills (MPP) are uterine evacuation medications used for treatment of delayed menses without prior pregnancy confirmation. This study explores potential interest in missed period pills in two US states.

Study design: We enrolled people seeking pregnancy test services at nine health centers in two US states between June 2015 and October 2017. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire containing closed- and open-ended questions about background characteristics, reproductive practices, pregnancy feelings and intentions, abortion attitudes, and MPP interest. We used ordered logistic regression to identify factors associated with MPP interest and inductive content analysis to identify recurring qualitative themes related to MPP interest or disinterest.

Results: In all, 678 people completed the survey and 286/678 (42%) indicated interest in missed period pills. Interest was greatest (129/185 or 70%) among those who would be unhappy if pregnant. Variables associated with interest in the multivariate analyses were age ≥ 35, nulliparity, prior abortion and contraceptive use, recent use of emergency contraception, pregnancy feelings and intentions, and abortion attitudes (p < .05). Variables not associated with interest included state of residence, educational attainment, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and frequency of religious attendance. Key reasons for interest were to prevent, avoid or terminate pregnancy; and psychological or emotional benefits, including management of abortion stigma. Reasons for non-interest included concerns about safety or side effects, desire to be pregnant or have a baby, and not wanting to abort or hurt the fetus/baby.

Conclusion: If missed period pills were available in the United States, demand might be substantial and wide-ranging across demographic groups.

Implications: Our findings suggest that some people with missed periods do not desire pregnancy confirmation before taking medications that might disrupt a pregnancy. As a result, provision of missed period pills in the United States would expand reproductive service options and could improve the delivery of patient-centered care.

Keywords: Late period; Menses induction; Menstrual regulation; Missed period pills; Pregnancy test.