Concern has been expressed regarding potential harm to women's mental health in association with induced abortion but there is no clear evidence whether induced abortion is associated with an increased risk of subsequent psychiatric problems.
A few previous studies have suggested that induced first trimester abortion is associated with mental health problems.. In addition there is also an increased risk of psychosis or depression under certain circumstances like when a pregnancy may become unwanted for a woman and she is pushed into an induced abortion. Given the limitations of previous studies scientists wanted to assess the risk of psychiatric contact following first trimester abortion.
AdvertisementFor this study, scientists in Denmark studied Danish girls and young women of over 15-years of age. None of them had a prior history of mental disorders. These girls were studied for psychiatric problems within 12-months after abortion or childbirth and compared with the 9-month period before the event. In Denmark abortion is legal and freely available until 12-weeks of pregnancy.
Scientists found that there was no significant increase in the incidence of psychiatric contact within a year after the induced abortion. Results showed that 1% of the women had a first psychiatric contact before the abortion and 1.5% had contact within 1-year after the procedure.
Therefore the scientists concluded that the rate of first time psychiatric contact before and after first trimester induced abortion is almost the same and does not support the hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders after first trimester induced abortions.
The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Reference:- The New England Journal of Medicine