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Assisted Reproduction Linked to Placenta Previa Risk

Assisted reproduction technology itself, not maternal factors, thought to be the cause in some cases

THURSDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Assisted reproduction technology (ART) is associated with an increased risk of placenta previa, and in some cases it is likely due to the technology itself rather than maternal factors, according to a study published online May 25 in Human Reproduction.

Liv Bente Romundstad, of St. Olavs University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, and colleagues conducted a nationwide population-based study of 845,384 pregnancies between 1988 and 2002. They compared the risk of placenta previa occurring in natural pregnancies with the risk during 7,568 pregnancies conceived as a result of ART. The risk of placenta previa between consecutive pregnancies was also compared, by analyzing data from 1,349 women who had conceived after ART and also naturally.

In singleton pregnancies conceived by ART, there was a sixfold increase in the risk of placenta previa compared with those conceived naturally. Women who had conceived both naturally and using ART had a threefold higher risk for the condition in the ART-conceived pregnancies.

"It seems reasonable to attribute differences in pregnancy complications to the reproduction technology rather than to maternal factors," the authors conclude. On the sixfold increased risk for singleton pregnancies, the authors write: "The higher prevalence of placenta previa is most likely due to a combination of maternal factors and factors related to the ART."

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