During the 1st year of the Abortion Act, 1967, sixty-five patients were seen for a psychiatric opinion. Of these 50% were single, 36% married and 14% separated or divorced.
Referral was by the general practitioner in 60%, gynaecologist 36% and ‘other’ 4%.
Mean length of psychiatric history was 18·9 months. Half had had unhappy childhoods and family relationships were frequently disturbed. Four (6%) were University students.
Mean length of pregnancy was 11·0 weeks and for 87% of the single patients it was their first; for 36% of the married group it was their third. In fourteen (21%) the pregnancy resulted from a contraceptive failure.
There was a previous psychiatric history in 69%. The commonest diagnosis was depression, mainly of neurotic type (52%) but 29% had no gross psychiatric disorder.
Termination of pregnancy was recommended in thirty-two (49%), this included six where sterilization was also advised.
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