Abortion: Emotional Recovery

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Abortion: Emotional Recovery

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It is normal to go through a grieving process after an abortion, regardless of the reason for the abortion. The intensity and duration of emotional feelings vary from woman to woman and can be affected by the hormonal changes at that stage of pregnancy. Most women recover in a fairly short time.

Natural hormonal changes that occur in your body during pregnancy are affected by an abortion. These hormonal changes can make you feel more emotional than usual. You may experience a spectrum of feelings, ranging from sadness, anger, and regret to guilt or relief. In fact, hormonal changes can cause depression symptoms, including sleeplessness (insomnia), sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, hopelessness, irritability, and poor concentration. Lasting symptoms require professional attention.

A small number of women have prolonged emotional reactions after having an abortion. If you have prolonged feelings of sadness, guilt, or depression, be sure to talk about your feelings with a supportive family member or friend, a professional counsellor, or your health professional.

Counselling early in a pregnancy is important for a positive outcome when choosing an abortion. Counselling can help you identify and manage your emotions about your choice, which can reduce the risk of having emotional problems months or years after the abortion.

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By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rebecca H. Allen, MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised January 4, 2011

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