Feb, 20 2023

How Abortion Can Impact Your Mental Health!

Abortion is a common health intervention. It is very safe when carried out using a method recommended by WHO that will be appropriate to the pregnancy duration and by someone with the necessary skills. It has been witnessed that 6 out of 10 of all unintended pregnancies end in induced abortion. About 45% of all abortions are considered to be unsafe, of which 97% take place in developing countries. Unsafe abortion accounts for up to 13% of deaths associated to pregnancy and childbirth, and an estimated 7 million women are treated for complications every year.

How Abortion Can Impact Your Mental Health

As per the records of the World Health Organization, roughly 73 million induced abortions occur globally each year, with 61% of all unintended pregnancies and 29% of all pregnancies in general ending with an abortion. Tracking the rate of abortion in numerous countries around the world is difficult as many nations do not have a proper track record of abortion rates.

How Abortion Can Impact Your Mental Health

Pregnancy Outcomes in Developing Regions

Unsafe abortions occur more frequently where abortion is restricted by law. In countries that restrict abortion or allow it only to save the woman's life or protect her physical health, three-quarters of the procedures are unsafe. In countries that allow abortion, 9 in every 10 abortions are safe. While abortion is more common in some countries than others, it occurs in every country.

There is evidence from various studies that people undergoing abortion have poorer mental health, on average, compared to people who are not seeking an abortion. However, this poorer mental health results partly from structural inequities that disproportionately expose some populations to poverty, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and intimate partner violence. People opt for abortion for numerous reasons, which includes timing issues, the urgent need to focus on their other children, concern for their own physical or mental health, the desire to avoid exposing a child to a violent or abusive partner, and the lack of financial security to raise a child. In addition to this, people having a history of mental illness, pregnancy and the postpartum period are at high risk for abortion, also, with increased rates of recurrence of psychiatric symptoms and of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, abortion is at higher risk. Pregnant people suffering from serious mental illnesses or substance use disorders are most likely to be counseled by healthcare professionals to avoid or terminate pregnancies. There was another study which highlighted the fact that among women suffering from mental health conditions, the rate of readmission to a psychiatric hospital was not raised around the time of abortion, but there was an increased rate of hospitalization in psychiatric facilities at the time of childbirth.

Our DBMR team has investigated the mental health and substance abuse services market and witnessed that North America accounted for a major share in the mental health market in 2020 due to the rise in adoption of advanced technologies and increased awareness of mental health among healthcare professionals and individuals working in the corporate industry. Asia-Pacific is expected to register the highest CAGR from 2021 to 2030 due to increased health awareness, improved healthcare infrastructure, and an increase in the number of hospitals with modern medical facilities.

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How does Abortion Affect Mental Health?

As per the American Pregnancy Association, abortion can cause multiple responses.

How Abortion Can Impact Your Mental Health

Besides the above options, there are other factors that can be triggered post-abortion namely insomnia or other sleep disorders, eating disorders, or suicidal thoughts. Some women, including those forced or coerced to get an abortion, may be more susceptible to experiencing mental health complications. However, some research shows that an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk for mental health complications over the long-term.

Our DBMR team has investigated the sleep disorder treatment market and witnessed North america is dominating the market due to the growing diagnosis rate and awareness about the disease and people having a hectic life schedule. Asia-Pacific is expected to rise due to advancement in new technologies. The market is expected to undergo a CAGR of 8.90% during the forecast period 2022 to 2029.

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Pregnancy Risks

Legal abortion is considered to be a safe clinical procedure, with very low rates of complications and death. On the contrary, the risk of death related with childbirth is 14 times of that with legal abortion. In fact, the U.S. has high maternal mortality than other high-income countries. In the United States, it has been noticed that the face numerous adverse mental health outcomes, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance use disorders, and suicide attempts. Recently, in an analysis of maternal mortality in the U.S., it was seen that homicide during pregnancy or within 42 days after the end of pregnancy was majorly responsible for more than twice as many deaths as any other cause.

Our DBMR team has investigated the global post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) market and witnessed North America likely lead the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) market. The market in Asia-Pacific is expected to exhibit a substantial growth rate during the forecast period 2021-2028 due to rise in accident cases in this region.Also, increasing cases of cross-border tensions, accidents, natural disasters, military combat and terrorist attacks is a key factor in driving the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) market. 

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There are varied barriers to reproductive services that can cause some pregnant people to opt for abortion using methods that are not evidence-informed, which increases their risk of complications. In a recent study, investigators used demographic estimation methods to predict that a nationwide ban on abortion services would cause a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths among all U.S. women compared with 2017 rates. These estimates were based on the complications of pregnancy and childbirth and do not include the potential impact of unsafe, self-induced, or non–clinician-facilitated abortion or the risk of fatal domestic violence. Another part is a caregiver’s autonomy to make decisions about their children’s household and environment. The majority of women who have abortions are already mothers. In a survey performed of more than 1000 patients undergoing abortion, the most common reason for undergoing the procedure was that having another child that would interfere with the patient’s education, work, or ability to care for dependents.

Types of Mental Health Disorders faced after Abortion

There are various studies that stated that different types of mental health disorders are faced by women who underwent abortion. A latest new study shows that women who have an abortion face an increased risk for mental health problems, including anxiety, substance abuse, and depression. Results show quite repeatedly that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems after the procedure. For the study, researchers examined data on 877,000 women, which includes 164,000 who had an abortion.

How Abortion Can Impact Your Mental Health

The above chart shows the different health parameters that women face after undergoing abortion wherein the most common disorder faced by them is depression and the least is the consumption of marijuana.

Our DBMR team has investigated the global anxiety disorder market and witnessed that the expected CAGR of global anxiety disorder market is tend to be around 5% in the mentioned forecast period. Asia-Pacific has been witnessing a positive growth for global anxiety disorder market throughout the forecasted period due to rapidly improving health care infrastructure in the region. And, North America dominates the market due to increased investment by pharmaceutical industries for the advancement in the treatment and favourable reimbursement scenario.

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In 2008, the American Psychiatric Association charged a task force to review scientific evidence on the link between abortion and mental health. They acknowledged women may experience sadness, grief, depression, and anxiety following an abortion, but could not find evidence abortions - and not other factors - caused these effects.

  • Relief- The most common feeling after abortion is a relief. Whether knowing right away that one wanted to have an abortion or needed some time to decide, continuing the pregnancy wasn’t the right choice for them in that moment. Thus, the ability to end the pregnancy with a safe abortion procedure gave them a feeling of relief from the huge circle of dilemma.

As Lizz Winstead, founder of the non-profit Abortion Access Front, said, Abortion is a moral choice. It is an ethical choice. It is your choice. There are no good abortions; there are no bad abortions; there is only the abortion you need. FULL STOP."

  • Sadness- Emotions are complex, particularly those associated to major life decisions. Even if one mostly feel relieved, they might also experience some sadness or grief along with it once they have decided to have an abortion or may be sometimes post the procedure. There may be options such as financial instability or health issues, but in either way, they face some sort of sadness post the procedure.
  • Guilt- Some people do experience guilt after having an abortion. This guilt may be associated more to the pregnancy itself. Some people might wish they’d taken more care with their chosen birth control method. But guilt can also build up from your personal feelings about abortion.
  • Regret- Yes, some people do feel some regret after an abortion. And it’s not uncommon that regret to be combined with a confusing sense of relief. One might regret becoming pregnant or the need for an abortion. Perhaps one might feel regretful that they haven’t reached a place in life where they could raise a child, or may be delusional about being a parent.

There was one conversation between a healthcare professional and a patient who just underwent abortion, which clearly showed the patient's feeling after this procedure.

Doctor: Do you feel okay, mentally?

Patient: I didn’t experience guilt or trauma. I experienced relief. Relief that I had a second chance to straighten my life out which I did. No-one and I mean no-one should have made that decision for me.

How to Cope With Abortion?

  • Relaxation Exercise :

Give 5 minutes to yourself during your day and finding a place somewhere comfortable, warm and quiet to sit or lie down will help in performing meditation or may be experiencing some time of relaxation. Taking some slow deep breaths helps in calming one down. Also, sometimes just sitting idle or reading a book simply will help a lot on the long run.

  • Don’t Isolate Yourself:

There are utmost chances of seeking isolation post-abortion but that is a dreadful circle. Although one may feel tempted to withdraw from family and friends, but they should try to stay connected to people who can offer support. Isolation may only amplify the feelings in a negative way.

  • Counselling:

Several support groups and clinics offer hope and healing through post-abortion counseling that is confidential and affordable.​ One-on-one counseling is widely available if one feel the need to explore healing more in an intimate way. Several one-on-one sessions are affordable and available on a sliding scale based on income. Counselling is very important for these people because many a times, we cannot seek help from our loved ones but a stranger can help a lot in this regard.

  • Lifestyle Changes:

Several lifestyle changes needs to be incorporated for better coping with the abortion. Lifestyle factors that may help include eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, reducing stress as much as possible, and learning relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.

  • Journaling

Some women experience strong emotions and mood swings after an abortion, mainly due to the hormonal shifts. Journaling every day helps bring some positivity into the life as it will make you accept the little things that one is grateful of. Even if one feel depressed or sad, accepting that and acknowledging that will help in the recovery process.


Abortion is a procedure that often leads to different sets of feelings faced by women. Receiving an abortion may also trigger insomnia or other sleep disorders, eating disorders, or suicidal thoughts. Having an abortion does not mean one cannot get pregnant at a later time? There are several stigma associated with abortion but it needs to be known that it is a legal procedure and safe one every individual has the right to experience that right.

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