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Table 2 Themes identified in content analysis

From: Experiences with pain of early medical abortion: qualitative results from Nepal, South Africa, and Vietnam

Theme Sub-themes/details
Pain and other side effects Pain trajectory
• Minimal pain
• Brief intense pain
• Intermittent pain
• Constant pain
Other side effects: chills/shivering, nausea/vomiting, fever, diarrhea
Medical abortion pain relative to menstrual, labor, and previous abortion pain Pain characteristics
• Intensity
• Duration
• Associated symptoms and side effects
• Response to pain medications
Most participants considered pain with medical abortion worse than menstrual pain.
Most participants who experienced childbirth considered labor pain worse than medical abortion
Supportive providers may lessen pain experience.
Pain management South African participants reported general use of paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain, while those in Nepal and Vietnam less commonly used medications.
Non-medicinal pain management included wrapping a piece of cloth around one’s abdomen, eating or drinking hot foods and liquids, and using a hot water bottle or massage.
Emotional experiences Range of emotions described: minimal emotional response, relief, guilt, ambivalence.
Most participants thought emotional response did not worsen physical pain experience.
Emotional support from family and friends improved abortion experience, including physical pain.
Those who had previous abortions felt psychologically more prepared for pain of medical abortion.