Although some people believe that having an abortion increases the risk of mental health problems, the evidence shows that this is not true. However, ending a pregnancy can still have an emotional impact.
The Emotional Impact of Abortion
The way you feel after an abortion will depend on many things, such as your reasons for having the termination. If you had to end a planned pregnancy for medical reasons, you may feel a severe sense of loss. If you ended an unplanned pregnancy that you weren’t ready for, your main emotion may be one of relief. However, our emotions are complex and changeable. You might feel a little sad or regretful, even if you are sure you made the right choice. Your feelings will probably change over time too.
Mental Health, Pregnancy and Abortion
Pregnancy can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing. In fact, some women decide to have an abortion in order to protect their mental health. Around 1 in 3 of us will experience some kind of mental health problem at some point in our lives, so it is always important to take care of ourselves and seek help when we need it.
- Some women do develop mental health problems such as depression after an abortion, but this is very rare and isn’t always linked to the termination itself.
- Women are more likely to develop mental health problems if they are denied an abortion than if they have a termination when they want one.
- Continuing with the pregnancy can also affect your mental health as there is a small risk of problems such as postnatal depression or PTSD after a difficult birth. Pregnancy can also trigger mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.
- The risk of mental health problems is about the same whether you have an abortion or continue with the pregnancy, as long as you are making the choice that you feel is right.