Continued pregnancy among abortion applications. A study of women having a change of mind

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1997 Nov;76(10):942-7. doi: 10.3109/00016349709034906.


Objective: A certain proportion of women applying for legal abortion later change their minds. The present study was designed to ascertain whether such women differ from those who choose to terminate their pregnancy, with regard to age, civil status, other demographic characteristics, or reproductive history.

Setting: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Malmö, Lund University, Sweden.

Subjects: All 1,446 abortion applicants attending the abortion clinic at University Hospital Malmö, in 1989.

Study design: A comparison of the women who continued the pregnancy and those who underwent abortion, with regard to the above mentioned factors.

Methods: Semistructured interviews and statistical analysis.

Results: Of this series of urban abortion applicants, almost one in ten underwent a change of mind. Women who chose to continue their pregnancy differed from those who held fast to their initial decision above all with regard to age and family situation. Less important was education, reproductive history, and stated reasons for abortion.

Conclusions: To answer the question why some women continue an unwanted pregnancy after a closer consideration is not easy. The complexity of a woman's feeling in the matter seems to be moderated by the kind of support and stability she has in her life situation and also of the stability in relation to her partner. An equally important question is whether this change of mind is associated with a changed attitude to the expected baby (i.e., does an unwanted child become a wanted one?).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion Applicants* / psychology
  • Abortion, Induced
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Decision Making*
  • Educational Status
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Marital Status
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden