London: It's confirmed now. Abortion doesn't raise the risk of a woman suffering mental health problems, a major review of studies has concluded.

Data from 44 studies showed women with an unwanted pregnancy have a higher incidence of mental health problems in general. This is not affected by whether or not they have an abortion or give birth.

Researchers from the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health carried out the review after concerns that abortion may adversely affect a woman's mental health, reported.

Usually, a woman's risk of suffering common disorders such as anxiety or depression would be around 11 to 12 percent. But the researchers said this rate was around three times higher in women with unwanted pregnancies.

The director of NCCMH, Prof Tim Kendall, said: "It could be that these women have a mental health problem before the pregnancy. On the other hand, it could be the unwanted pregnancy that's causing the problem.”

"Or both explanations could be true. We can't be absolutely sure from the studies whether that's the case -- but common sense would say it's quite likely to be both. The evidence shows though that whether these women have abortions -- or go on to give birth -- their risk of having mental health problems will not increase. They carry roughly equal risks."

Prof Kendall said many previous studies had failed to adequately control for instances when women previously had mental health problems.

After a project which involved a three-month consultation, the researchers believe it would not "be fruitful" to carry out further studies into how pregnancies are resolved.

(Agencies)