Mental distress due to abortion lasts for years

Women who have had an abortion still experience mental distress related to the abortion years after it happened. A study published today in the open access journal BMC Medicine reveals that five years on, women who have had an abortion suffer higher levels of mental distress than other women and than women who have had a miscarriage.

Anne Nordal Broen and colleagues from the University of Oslo, in Norway, collaborated with colleagues from the Buskerud Hospital in Drammen, Norway. They studied 40 women who had had a miscarriage and 80 women who had undergone an induced abortion. The women were interviewed and asked to complete questionnaires 10 days, six months, two years and five years after the pregnancy termination. The aim was to assess the women’s feelings about the event and measure their levels of stress, anxiety and their quality of life.

Broen et al.’s results show that women who had a miscarriage suffer more mental distress up until six months after the event than women who had an abortion. Women who had an abortion, however, experienced more mental distress long after the event – two and five years afterwards – than women who had a miscarriage. Women who had an abortion experienced high levels of anxiety, feelings of guilt, shame and relief and had to make efforts to avoid thoughts about the event. When compared with women from the general population, women who had an abortion experienced more anxiety 10 days, six months, two years and five years after the event.

From Biomed Central

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