Author(s): Hemmerling A, Siedentopf F, Kentenich H
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Abstract In Germany, four years of experience with mifepristone as an alternative procedure to surgical abortion have revealed a still reluctant use of the new method. In the public discussion, the more participatory role of the women in the abortion procedure is often feared to have negative consequences for the emotional processing of the event. This study compares the women's criteria for selecting a method and the psychological responses before and four weeks after medical or surgical abortion. Two hundred and nineteen women answered questions regarding demographic data, motivation, medical details and social support. Additionally, the women completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Impact of Event Scale (IES). There were no differences regarding sociodemographic and reproductive characteristics among both groups. Comparing data before and a month after the abortion, our study showed a significant decline of both anxiety and depression for both abortion methods. The medical group had significantly lower entrance levels of anxiety than the surgical group. The medical regimen caused significantly more sequelae such as prolonged bleeding, pain and other side effects. However, this did not have a negative influence on the coping process. A vast majority of women in both groups evaluated choosing between different abortion methods as being highly important to them. Our study supports the consensus view that termination of an unwanted pregnancy is a positive first solution to the conflict, regardless of the chosen method. The positive outcome and high satisfaction levels among the participants illustrate the importance of an ongoing and improved accessibility of medical abortion for women in Germany.
This article was published in J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol
and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety