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Abortion: Emotional Recovery

British Columbia Specific Information

Abortions are available in B.C. and, for B.C. residents who have current coverage, are paid for by the Medical Services Plan. Several clinics, doctors, and hospitals throughout the province offer these services. Counselling about pregnancy options, the procedure itself, birth control, and other topics are available at most of the clinics and through either of these toll-free information lines:

  • Pregnancy Options Line: 1-888-875-3163 throughout B.C. or 604-875-3163 from the Lower Mainland. This service provides information, resources and referral for all abortion services, including counselling, available to B.C. residents.
  • Sex Sense Line: 1-800-SEX-SENSE (1-800-739-7367) throughout B.C. or 604-731-7803 from the Lower Mainland. This service offers general sexual and reproductive health information, as well as referral to resources throughout B.C.

Women may self-refer to any of the abortion clinics in B.C. or may call the Pregnancy Options Line for referral to a doctor in their area. For more information, talk to your health care provider or call one of the numbers above to discuss your individual circumstances and options.

For more information, please visit Options for Sexual Health and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre.

Topic Overview

Deciding to end a pregnancy is never easy. Every woman has a different reason for an abortion, and emotional reactions are common. After an abortion, it is normal to feel relief, sadness, grief, or guilt. These feelings can change from woman to woman.

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.

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.

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. This can reduce the risk of having emotional problems months or years after the abortion.

Credits

Current as of:
February 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rebecca H. Allen MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology