by Steven Ertelt
December 17, 2007
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — Women who have one or more abortions face a drastically increased risk of giving birth to a pre-term or low birthweight baby in a subsequent pregnancy. That’s the conclusion a team of scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University drew in a new report published in the latest issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The researchers examined data on over 45,500 mothers giving birth in the United States and found that about 11 percent of all women had low birthweight infants and 14 percent had premature births.
But women who reported at least one prior abortion were almost three times as likely to have a low birthweight baby as those who carried the pregnancy to term.
This risk increased to five-fold in women who had two previous abortions and to nine-fold in women who had a history of three abortions.
Similarly, women with one previous abortion were 70 percent more likely to have a pre-term birth. This risk increased to two-fold in women with a history of two abortions and three-fold in those with three or more abortions.
The reasons for the increased risk were unclear since the researchers found the same results in women who had previous miscarriages. Yet, the VCU researchers said "women and healthcare professionals must be aware of this potential risk."
The scientists concluded, "Previous abortion is a significant risk factor for low birthweight and pre-term birth and the risk increases with the increasing number of previous abortions. Practitioners should consider previous abortion as a risk factor."
The new study examined live, singleton births using data from the United States Collaborative Perinatal Project. Logistic regression was used to control for obstetric and medical history, and lifestyle and demographic factors.
This isn’t the first time a study has shown a link between abortion and problems in subsequent births.
As LifeNews.com reported in November, a study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine found abortion linked with premature births and cerebral palsy.
In that report, physicians in Canada and the U.S. teamed up for the study and examined data from more than four million births.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, Professor and Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University, estimates that roughly a third of babies who are considered "very pre-term" result from a woman’s decision to have a prior abortion.
Other studies have found similar results.
Vladimir Serov, the deputy director of the Russian Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology Center at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, told the Russian media source Regnum that 120,000 women are injured each year from legal abortions.
He said numerous Russian women suffer from sterility, endometriosis and other problems following abortions.
This has led to a significant problem of premature births and Serov said Russian women typically have 160,000 miscarriages a year and there are 60,000 premature births annually.