Abortion Contributes to Subsequent Cases of Postpartum Depression, New Study

David C. Reardon
February 24, 2021
Reproduced with Permission

Induced abortion or miscarriage of a first pregnancy increases the risk of postpartum mental health problems by 10 to 35 percent, according to a new study of of over 1.9 million women. The risk of postpartum psychiatric care requiring hospitalization is increased by 83 percent.

The study examined the medical claim records from all the states provided Medicaid funding for elective abortions between 1999 and 2012. Similar studies of Medicaid records have shown that abortion increases the risk of mental health problems , sleep disorders , and premature deaths . But this was the first peer reviewed study to look specifically at mental health effects within the postpartum period, defined as the first six months following a delivery, among American women.

According to the study's lead author, the Elliot Institute 's David Reardon, self-reports of women combined with the clinical experience of counselors have previously indicated that unresolved grief over a prior pregnancy losses can be triggered by subsequent births.

"For at least some women, the joy of a newborn child arouses memories and feelings of grief, and even self-blame, for previously lost pregnancies," said Reardon. "These new findings show that this phenomenon occurs frequently enough to show up in statistically validated analyses of large populations."