Objective: We studied psychological outcomes and predictors for adverse outcome in 147 women 4, 8, and 16 months after termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly.
Study design: We conducted a longitudinal study with validated self-completed questionnaires.
Results: Four months after termination 46% of women showed pathological levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms, decreasing to 20.5% after 16 months. As to depression, these figures were 28% and 13%, respectively. Late onset of problematic adaptation did not occur frequently. Outcome at 4 months was the most important predictor of persistent impaired psychological outcome. Other predictors were low self-efficacy, high level of doubt during decision making, lack of partner support, being religious, and advanced gestational age. Strong feelings of regret for the decision were mentioned by 2.7% of women.
Conclusion: Termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly has significant psychological consequences for 20% of women up to > 1 year. Only few women mention feelings of regret.