Unintended Pregnancy, Induced Abortion, and Mental Health

  title={Unintended Pregnancy, Induced Abortion, and Mental Health},
  author={Sarah Horvath and Courtney A. Schreiber},
  journal={Current Psychiatry Reports},
Purpose of ReviewThe early medical literature on mental health outcomes following abortion is fraught with methodological flaws that can improperly influence clinical practice. Our goal is to review the current medical literature on depression and other mental health outcomes for women obtaining abortions.Recent FindingsThe Turnaway Study prospectively enrolled 956 women seeking abortion in the USA and followed their mental health outcomes for 5 years. The control group was comprised of women… 

The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities

  • D. Reardon
  • Psychology, Medicine
    SAGE open medicine
  • 2018
It is impossible to conduct research in this field in a manner that can definitively identify the extent to which any mental illnesses following abortion can be reliably attributed to abortion in and of itself, and recommendations for collaboration include mixed research teams and attention to a broader list of research questions.

Affective and Substance Abuse Disorders Following Abortion by Pregnancy Intention in the United States: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

Excluding wanted pregnancies moderately understates overall risk and strongly understates affective risk of mental health difficulties for women following abortion, compared to corresponding births.

Well-Being Before and After Pregnancy Termination: The Consequences of Abortion and Miscarriage on Satisfaction With Various Domains of Life

  • Björn Huss
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of Happiness Studies
  • 2021
The results show that pregnancies resulting in abortion or miscarriage were less frequently preceded by pregnancy intentions compared to those resulting in live birth, and that induced abortion—but not miscarriage—was furthermore accompanied by lower pre-event satisfaction than live birth.

Unsafe abortion in Brazil: a systematic review

Findings indicate that abortion is frequently used in Brazil, especially in less-developed regions and by more socially-vulnerable women, and access to safer methods probably contributed to the reduced in hospitalizations due to complications and to the reduction in morbimortality from abortion.


It has been established that there is no strong evidence that abortion negatively affects a woman's mental health, including no evidence that the emotional consequences are deeply personal, or are rather the result of societal pressure.

Legal abortion in Brazil: systematic review of the scientific production, 2008-2018.

Previous reviews on the subject of abortion in Brazil have estimated one million procedures per year but did not address legal abortion. This systematic review sought to update knowledge regarding

Unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence in settings experiencing humanitarian crisis

There is an immense need to strengthen the delivery of contraceptives, including condoms, so that such unintended pregnancies can be averted and adopt a multi-sectoral approach to improve the quality of life of women.

Women with Schizophrenia over the Life Span: Health Promotion, Treatment and Outcomes

A narrative review of treatment of women with schizophrenia at different periods of their life paying special attention to reproductive and post-reproductive stages suggests that menstrual cycle-dependent treatments may be a useful option for many women and that recommendations re contraceptive options need always to be part of care provision.

Prevalence of unmet need for contraception and its association with unwanted pregnancy among married women in Angola

The findings showed a strong positive association between unmet need for contraception and unwanted pregnancy and it is recommended to conduct further studies to replicate the findings and to explore the influence behavioural and cultural practices on unwanted pregnancy.

HIV risk and pre‐exposure prophylaxis interest among women seeking post‐abortion care in Kenya: a cross‐sectional study

The objective of this study was to gauge the degree to which Kenyan women seeking care for a pregnancy loss, including induced abortion, are at risk for HIV and whether women would welcome an introduction to PrEP prior to discharge from post‐abortion care.



Receiving Versus Being Denied an Abortion and Subsequent Tobacco Use

Overall, women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term appear to demonstrate similar cessation and resumption patterns to other pregnant women.

A comparison of depression and anxiety symptom trajectories between women who had an abortion and women denied one

Women who received an abortion had similar or lower levels of depression and anxiety than women denied an abortion, and the notion that abortion is a cause of mental health problems is not supported.

Women's emotions one week after receiving or being denied an abortion in the United States.

Difficulty with the abortion decision and the degree to which the pregnancy had been planned were most important for women's postabortion emotional state.

Psychological responses of women after first-trimester abortion.

Most women do not experience psychological problems or regret their abortion 2 years postabortion, but some do, and those who do tend to be women with a prior history of depression.

Depression associated with abortion and childbirth: a long-term analysis of the NLSY cohort.

  • J. CougleD. ReardonP. Coleman
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research
  • 2003
Abortion may be a risk factor for subsequent depression in the period of 8 years after the pregnancy event, and women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion were 65% more likely to score in the 'high-risk' range for clinical depression than womenwhose first pregnancies resulted in a birth.

Women’s Mental Health and Well-being 5 Years After Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion: A Prospective, Longitudinal Cohort Study

Compared with having an abortion, being denied an abortion may be associated with greater risk of initially experiencing adverse psychological outcomes, and psychological well-being improved over time so that both groups of women eventually converged.

Depression and unintended pregnancy in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: a cohort study

The National Longitudinal Study of Youth begun in 1979 with a nationwide cohort of 12 686 American youths aged 14-21 was examined, finding that prior psychological state is equally predictive of subsequent depression among women with unintended pregnancies regardless of whether they abort or carry to term.

Does abortion increase women's risk for post-traumatic stress? Findings from a prospective longitudinal cohort study

Women who received an abortion were at no higher risk of PTSD than women denied an abortion, and PTSS, PTSD risk and pregnancy-related PTSS declined over time for all study groups.