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Abortion doesn't lead to depression--study

The researchers also assessed women's visit to health-care professional nine months before abortion and child birth, and one year after that.

Unintended pregnancy? The decision to carry the baby or abort might be tough, but opting for the latter could be a wise decision, say researchers.

According to a new study published in the 'New England Journal of Medicine,' women who undergo abortion are not at an increased risk if suffering from mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

Trine Munk-Olsen, lead author of the study stated, “Most well-made studies in the field of abortion and mental health show that having an abortion is not associated with an increased risk of having a psychiatric episode.”

While abortion does not harm the mental health of women, having a baby does increase the risk of psychiatric problems.

365,550 females followed for 12 years
To determine if there is a link between abortion and increased risk of mental health issues, the researchers studied 365,550 teens and women in Denmark from 1995 to 2007.

Abortion is legal until the 12th week of pregnancy in Denmark.

According to researchers, women who opt for abortion are more likely to belong to a demographic group that has emotional and economic problems, and most of their pregnancies are unintended.

During the 12 year period, 84,620 Danish girls and women had abortion, and 280,930 had first child birth. None of the participants had a history of mental disorders before the study began.

The researchers also assessed women's visit to health-care professional nine months before abortion and child birth, and one year after that.

Opting for abortion not harmful
Debunking the notion that terminating pregnancy is bad for mental health, researchers found that majority of the women did not report seeking help for psychiatric problems after abortion.

Only 15 per 1000 women sought psychiatric counseling for problems like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety in nine months before abortion, and there was not much change in this rate in the year following abortion.

According to researchers, women who opt for abortion are more likely to belong to a demographic group that has emotional and economic problems, and most of their pregnancies are unintended.

On the other side, though the rate of first time mothers seeking psychiatric counseling was lower, the number of those seeking help increased dramatically after child-birth.

While four in 1000 sought treatment for mental health problems before delivery, seven per 1000 mothers got health problems within year after child birth.

"Women who are in a difficult situation -- pregnant and unsure whether or not to continue with the pregnancy -- should know that they do not have an increased risk of having a first-time episode of a severe mental disorder after an abortion," stated Munk-Olsen.