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Abortion Raises Risk of Future Preterm Delivery

Risk increases with higher number of past abortions

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have had previous abortions are more likely to give birth to low birth weight and premature babies, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

J.S. Brown, Jr., of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues analyzed data on 45,617 live, singleton births in the United States and assessed the impact of previous abortions on birth outcome.

Women who had one, two, or three or more abortions were at 2.8, 4.6 and 9.5 times higher risk for a low birth weight baby, respectively, compared with their counterparts who had not previously had an abortion. As for preterm birth, the risk was 1.7, 2.0 and 3.0 times higher for women with one, two, or three or more previous abortions.

"This study identified previous abortion as a significant risk factor for low birth weight, term low birth weight and preterm birth, and risk increased with the increasing number of abortions," the authors write. "Women and health care professionals should be informed of this potential risk. Future research may wish to revisit the question of whether previous abortions can impact intrauterine fetal growth independent of prematurity. The controversy regarding the effect of previous abortion on term low birth weight appears suitable for future analysis using current data," they conclude.

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