FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Women who've suffered the death of a baby due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are at increased risk of premature delivery and complications in subsequent pregnancies, British researchers report.
Writing in this week's issue of The Lancet, they noted these complications are also risk factors for SIDS. The finding may explain why some women have a family history of recurrent SIDS.
The University of Cambridge researchers analyzed data collected from more than 258,000 women who had consecutive births in Scotland between 1995 and 2001.
They found that women whose previous infant died were two to three times more likely than other women to have a premature baby, and two to three times more likely to deliver a small baby.
The study also found that women who had a premature delivery or a small baby had a twofold increased risk of SIDS occurring in infants they had in subsequent years. The association held true even after the researchers factored in other possible SIDS risk factors such as smoking, age and marital status.
"Our findings suggest a mechanism that would predispose women to recurrent cases of SIDS, and provide direct evidence that the risk of SIDS after a given birth is not statistically independent of whether the previous infants died," the study authors noted.
The Nemours Foundation has more about SIDS.