Short-Term Morbidity Associated with Abortion and Birth following an Unwanted Pregnancy

Loren Dobkin, University of California, San Francisco
Heather Gould, University of California, San Francisco
Diana G. Foster, University of California, San Francisco

There is little documentation of the health consequences of terminating an unwanted pregnancy versus carrying the pregnancy to term. We compare the short term health consequences for women who receive an abortion at a gestation just below one of 30 U.S. abortion clinics’ limit to those who were denied an abortion and carry the unwanted pregnancy to term because they presented just beyond the clinic gestational limit. A total of 140 women denied an abortion and 359 who received the abortion were interviewed within 6 months following birth or abortion. Complications from birth were more severe than those of abortion and resulted in more common and longer periods of disability. Women carrying the pregnancy to term had higher rates of hypertension and obesity at six months after study recruitment. Women and their clinicians should consider the medical risks of birth and abortion when considering the outcome of an unwanted pregnancy.

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Presented in Poster Session 1