Summary: Abortion Increases Likelihood of Maternal
history of induced abortion is associated with elevated maternal
substance use during pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancies are not
associated with substance use during pregnancy, except for cigarette
Abortion is often a
decision filled with conflicting emotions and external pressures,
where the decision to abort is inconsistent with the woman's true
desire. In such circumstances, the after-effects of abortion can
include feelings of loss and grief and can lead to substance abuse.
This study examined substance use during pregnancy based on a
maternal history of miscarriage, stillbirth, and induced abortion.
Women with a history of one induced abortion (not other types of
perinatal loss), as compared to women with no history of abortion,
were considerably more likely to use substances in seven of the
eight categories of substance examined. The research also examined
the association of the "wantedness" of a pregnancy. No significant
differences were observed between wanted and unwanted pregnancies
regarding various forms of substance use, with the exception of
cigarette smoking. Women experiencing unwanted pregnancies were more
likely to have smoked during pregnancy than women experiencing
Priscilla K., David C. Reardon, and Jesse R. Cougle. Substance
Use Among Pregnant Women in the Context of Previous Reproductive
Loss and Desire for Current Pregnancy, British Journal of Health
and Psychology, 2005.