Author(s): Gissler M, Karalis E, Ulander VM
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Abstract AIM: Women with a recent induced abortion have a 3-fold risk for suicide, compared to non-pregnant women. The increased risk was recognised in unofficial guidelines (1996) and Current Care Guidelines (2001) on abortion treatment, highlighting the importance of a check-up 2 - 3 weeks after the termination, to monitor for mental health disorders. We studied the suicide trends after induced abortion in 1987 - 2012 in Finland. METHODS: We linked the Register on Induced Abortions (N = 284,751) and Cause-of-Death Register (N = 3798 suicides) to identify women who had committed suicide within 1 year after an induced abortion (N = 79). The abortion rates per 100,000 person-years were calculated for 1987 - 1996 (period with no guidelines), 1997 - 2001 (with unofficial guidelines) and 2002 - 2012 (with Current Care Guidelines). RESULTS: The suicide rate after induced abortion declined by 24\%, from 32.4/100,000 in 1987 - 1996 to 24.3/100,000 in 1997 - 2001 and then 24.8/100,000 in 2002 - 2012. The age-adjusted suicide rate among women aged 15 - 49 decreased by 13\%; from 11.4/100,000 to 10.4/100,000 and 9.9/100,000, respectively. After induced abortions, the suicide rate increased by 30\% among teenagers (to 25/100,000), stagnated for women aged 20 - 24 (at 32/100,000), but decreased by 43\% (to 21/100,000) for women aged 25 - 49. CONCLUSIONS: The excess risk for suicide after induced abortion decreased, but the change was not statistically significant. Women with a recent induced abortion still have a 2-fold suicide risk. A mandatory check-up may decrease this risk. The causes for the increased suicide risk, including mental health prior to pregnancy and the social circumstances, should be investigated further. © 2014 the Nordic Societies of Public Health.
This article was published in Scand J Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety