Undergoing induced abortion was not associated with the later development of psychiatric problems, a new study shows.
In a population-based cohort study of more than 365,000 Danish women who became pregnant between 1995 and 2007, the rate of first-time contact with a psychiatric caregiver was no different in the year following a first-trimester induced abortion than it was during the year preceding the abortion, said Trine Munk-Olsen, Ph.D., of the National Center for Register-Based Research at Aarhus University, Denmark, and her associates.
The investigators undertook this study because previous studies of the issue "have had methodologic limitations, including small and self-selected study samples, low response rates and high dropout rates during the follow-up period, lack of control for potential con-founders, and inadequate measures of exposure and outcome variables," they noted.
Their study avoided these limitations by relying on national registry data. Induced abortions are legal in Denmark and are tracked in the national health care registry, as are inpatient and outpatient contacts at psychiatric facilities. The study included 365,550 Danish women who had no history of mental disorders and who had either a first childbirth or a first-ever first-trimester induced abortion between 1995 and 2007.
Among the 84,620 of these subjects who had a first-trimester induced abortion, the rate of a first inpatient or outpatient psychiatric contact was 1.5% during the following year, which was not significantly different from the 1.0% rate during the 9 months preceding the procedure.
The incidences of psychiatric contacts were 14. …