How abortion could affect future pregnancies

Abortion or miscarriage 'could raise risk of premature birth'

Women who have had an abortion or miscarriage are more likely to give birth to premature or underweight babies, new research has found.

A single miscarriage or abortion almost triples the risk of a subsequent baby being born weighing under 5lb 7oz. Low birth-weight is strongly linked to deaths in the first week of life or during infancy.

The study found that the risks increased sharply for women who had several miscarriages or abortions, although researchers did not differentiate between the two.

The research was carried out by a team of public health doctors at Virginia Commonwealth University, who studied the details of more than 45,000 births from the early 1960s.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said modern medical techniques reduced the risk of women who had had an abortion subsequently giving birth to premature or underweight babies.

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