To determine rates of suicide associated with pregnancy by the type of pregnancy.
Register linkage study. Information on suicides in women of reproductive age was linked with the Finnish birth, abortion, and hospital discharge registers to find out how many women who committed suicide had had a completed pregnancy during her last year of life.
Nationwide data from Finland.
Women who committed suicide in 1987-94.
There were 73 suicides associated with pregnancy, representing 5.4% of all suicides in women in this age group. The mean annual suicide rate was 11.3 per 100,000. The suicide rate associated with birth was significantly lower (5.9) and the rates associated with miscarriage (18.1) and induced abortion (34.7) were significantly higher than in the population. The risk associated with birth was higher among teenagers and that associated with abortion was increased in all age groups. Women who had committed a suicide tended to come from lower social classes and were more likely to be unmarried than other women who had had a completed pregnancy.
The increased risk of suicide after an induced abortion indicates either common risk factors for both or harmful effects of induced abortion on mental health.