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Br J Psychiatry. 1995 Aug;167(2):243-8.

Termination of pregnancy and psychiatric morbidity.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Manchester.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We investigated whether reported psychiatric morbidity was increased after termination of pregnancy compared with other outcomes of an unplanned pregnancy.

METHOD:

This was a prospective cohort study of 13,261 women with an unplanned pregnancy. Psychiatric morbidity reported by GPs after the conclusion of the pregnancy was compared in four groups: women who had a termination of pregnancy (6410), women who did not request a termination (6151), women who were refused a termination (379), and women who changed their minds before the termination was performed (321).

RESULTS:

Rates of total reported psychiatric disorder were no higher after termination of pregnancy than after childbirth. Women with a previous history of psychiatric illness were most at risk of disorder after the end of their pregnancy, whatever its outcome. Women without a previous history of psychosis had an apparently lower risk of psychosis after termination than postpartum (relative risk RR = 0.4, 95% confidence interval CI = 0.3-0.7), but rates of psychosis leading to hospital admission were similar. In women with no previous history of psychiatric illness, deliberate self-harm (DSH) was more common in those who had a termination (RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.6), or who were refused a termination (RR 2.9, 95% CI 1.3-6.3).

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings on DSH are probably explicable by confounding variables, such as adverse social factors, associated both with the request for termination and with subsequent self-harm. No overall increase in reported psychiatric morbidity was found.

PMID:
7582677
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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