Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Change in Mental Health Problems After Abortion

A systematic review of 44 published studies finds that rates of mental health problems among women with unwanted pregnancies are equal regardless of whether they gave birth or had an abortion. The National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health at Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists reported what it said was “the world’s largest, most comprehensive, and systematic review into the mental health outcomes of induced abortion.

Having a history of mental health problems most strongly predicted having similar problems after an abortion, according to the study. Also, an unwanted pregnancy was associated with a greater risk of mental health problems. “Our review shows that abortion is not associated with an increase in mental health problems,” said Roch Cantwell, M.B.B.Ch., a consultant perinatal psychiatrist at Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, and chair of the study’s steering group.

The report suggests that future practice and research should focus on the mental health needs associated with an unwanted pregnancy, rather than on the resolution of the pregnancy.

For another story in Psychiatric News about mental health and abortion, click here

(Image: Marcel Jancovic/