Intended for healthcare professionals


Suicides after pregnancy

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:902

Mental health may deteriorate as a direct effect of induced abortion

  1. Christopher Ll Morgan, Research officera,
  2. Marc Evans, Research registrara,
  3. John R Peters, Consultant physiciana,
  4. Craig Currie, Research officerb
  1. a Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF4 4XW
  2. b Department of Public Health Medicine, Bro Taf Health Authority, Temple of Peace and Health, Cardiff CF1 3NW
  3. c Cherry Knowle Hospital, Sunderland SR2 0NB
  4. d Unit of Statistics, Registers and Information Systems, National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES), PO 220, 00531 Helsinki, Finland
  5. e National Public Health Institute, Department of Mental Health, 00300 Helsinki

    Editor–Mika Gissler and colleagues state that suicides occur more commonly after induced abortion than after a pregnancy resulting in live birth.1 We linked admissions for miscarriage, induced abortion, and normal delivery to admissions for suicide attempts in our health authority (population 408 000) during 1991-5 (table 1).

    View this table:
    Table 1

    Frequency of admissions (rate per 1000 population) for attempted suicide by pregnancy event in women aged 15-49 in South Glamorgan Health Authority, 1991-5

    The age standardised relative risk of admission for attempted suicide compared with the non-gestational female population (ages 15-49) followed a similar pattern to that reported for mortality from suicide1: it was 2.17 (95% confidence interval 1.45 to 3.24, P<0.001) for women admitted for miscarriage, 1.92 (1.29 to 2.88, P<0.001) for those admitted for induced abortion, and 0.94 (0.73 to 1.20, NS) for those admitted for normal delivery.

    The age adjusted relative risk of suicide admission for women admitted for miscarriage compared with women admitted …

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