What Are the Mental Health Effects of Abortion?

If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering abortion, it’s important to arm yourself with the facts before making a decision. Abortion is a permanent choice that is associated with potential physical and mental health risks. 

Read on to learn what these risks are and what steps you can take next. 

What Are the Physical Risks of Abortion?

There are two main types of abortion: medical and surgical. 

A medical abortion involves taking two different drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to end and then expel the pregnancy from the uterus through the vagina.

The main potential physical risks associated with medical abortion include but aren’t limited to, infection, incomplete abortion (which is when parts of the pregnancy remain in the uterus), and hemorrhaging (losing too much blood).

A surgical abortion involves dilating the cervix so that medical instruments can enter the uterus to remove the pregnancy. 

The most common physical risks associated with surgical abortion include cervical damage, uterine scarring or perforation (which can make menstrual periods more painful and potentially lead to infertility), and infection. 

What Are the Mental Health Risks of Abortion?

While some women feel immediate relief after an abortion, other women can suffer mental health effects days, months, or even years later. 

According to a study, 81% of women who experienced an unplanned pregnancy and had an abortion were at an increased risk of mental health problems, including but not limited to depression, substance abuse, and anxiety.

These mental health risks are even greater if you feel pressured by other people to have an abortion. Another recent study by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons found that almost 75% of women who had an abortion felt at least subtly pressured into making the decision. 

Of the women who felt pressured into abortion, many suffered psychological effects afterward: “Women reported symptoms of depression (14.4%), guilt (14%), shame, regret, self-hatred, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of being unworthy of love, drug or alcohol addiction (9%), low self-esteem, anxiety, and thoughts or attempts of suicide (6.2%).”

Next Steps

If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering your next steps, we understand that it can feel overwhelming and even intimidating—but you’re not alone in this. We’re here for you. 

At Attelboro Women’s Health, we offer free pregnancy resources and support. If you’ve received a positive result on a pregnancy test, the next best step you can take right now is to get an ultrasound—this quick scan can confirm details about your pregnancy and help protect your health. Contact us today for a confidential, same-day appointment in a non-judgemental environment.