Emotional Responses to Therapeutic Abortion

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Healthy women who choose to terminate an unintended pregnancy in the first trimester have few serious or negative emotional consequences. Although a few women may have ambivalent feelings or feelings of guilt, most have a sense of relief and other positive reactions. However, the emotional response of a woman and her family to therapeutic abortion is complicated. A number of factors may help identify women at risk of emotional difficulty and depressive symptoms after abortion. Women who terminate their pregnancy during the second trimester, have a history of multiple abortions, have preexisting psychiatric problems or perceive a lack of support at home are more likely to have emotional difficulty. Women who have an abortion for medical or genetic reasons are at increased risk of developing depressive symptoms.