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August 11 2015

Just one miscarriage or abortion hurts future fertility

Massive review of birth data finds that moms to be who have had a pregnancy interrupted by miscarriage or abortion can have a more complicated pregnancy later on.

Just one miscarriage or abortion hurts future fertility

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Potential problems

Common risks during pregnancy for women who had experienced a miscarriage or abortion: 

• bleeding during early pregnancy
• preterm birth
• low fetal birth weight
• placenta-related complications

Pregnancy is already a complicated time for women. But for women who have suffered a miscarriage or had an abortion, it’s not just the emotional stakes that are higher — they’re dealing with more physical risks, too.

A new review of data on more than 15,000 mothers who delivered babies at Rabin Medical Center in Israel found that women who had even a single interrupted pregnancy were about 30 percent more likely to have complications during a full-term pregnancy, including induced labor, C-section delivery and complications with the placenta.

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"It is important to emphasize that a single pregnancy loss is a very common event during a woman's reproductive years," says lead researcher Dr. Liran Hiersch at Tel Aviv University. "In most cases it has no effect on future fertility or pregnancy outcome." 

Researchers say this study was the first to look at a mother’s fertility history backward from the time she delivered a baby.

Women who had several abortions or miscarriages are known to have a higher risk of complications in future pregnancies. These new findings are intended to help OB-GYNs decide what precautions to recommend to women whose pregnancies may have previously been considered low-risk. 

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"We hope this study will be incorporated in the usual risk assessments," says Hiersch. "Doctors should know there is another element to factor in when assisting a woman before labor."

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