Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Modern methods of abortion are not linked with an increased risk of preterm birth, study finds

Date:
July 10, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
The link between previous termination of pregnancy (abortion) and preterm delivery in a subsequent pregnancy has disappeared over the last 20-30 years, according to a study of data from Scotland.

The link between previous termination of pregnancy (abortion) and preterm delivery in a subsequent pregnancy has disappeared over the last 20-30 years, according to a study of data from Scotland published in this week's PLOS Medicine. The study, led by Gordon Smith from the University of Cambridge, found that abortion was a strong risk factor for subsequent preterm birth in the 1980s but over the next 20 years, the link progressively weakened and was no longer present among women giving birth from 2000 onwards.

Related Articles


These findings are important as the current recommendations to discuss a possible increased risk of preterm birth if a woman has an abortion were based on studies before 2000. The current analysis indicates that there is no link between abortion and the subsequent risk of preterm birth in modern practice and so current guidelines may have to be revised.

By using a large dataset from Scotland, the authors found that out of 757,060 live first births (excluding twins) between 1980 and 2008, 56,816 women reported one previous termination, 5,790 women reported two previous terminations, and 822 women reported three or more previous terminations. After adjusting for maternal characteristics, the authors found that there was a strong link between spontaneous preterm birth and previous abortion in 1980-1983, with a >30% increase in the risk of preterm birth with each previous procedure. However, this link progressively weakened, with a 10-20% increase in risk for preterm births in the 1990s, and no link at all from 2000 onwards.

The likely explanation for these findings is changes in methods of abortion. Over the period 1992 to 2008, the authors found that the procedure thought most likely to be lead to an increased risk of preterm birth (purely surgical abortion without the use of any drugs) decreased from 31% in 1992 to 0.4% in 2008. Furthermore, the proportion of medical terminations (procedures that avoided the use of surgery altogether) increased from 18% to 68%.

These findings suggest that use of purely surgical termination may have been responsible for the increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth and so, the phasing out of this procedure in Scotland in the 1980s and 1990s may have led to the subsequent disappearance of the established link between previous termination and preterm delivery from 2000 onwards. However, the authors could not directly test whether the two trends were related because they did not have information on the method of previous termination linked to subsequent birth outcome for individual women.

The authors say: "We have shown that previous abortion was a risk factor for preterm birth among nulliparous women in Scotland prior to 2000. However, increased use of medical methods of abortion and of cervical pre-treatment prior to surgical abortion has been paralleled by a disappearance in the association."

The authors add: "We believe that it is plausible that modernising methods of termination of pregnancy worldwide may be an effective long-term strategy to reduce future rates of preterm birth."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Clare Oliver-Williams, Michael Fleming, Kirsten Monteath, Angela M. Wood, Gordon C. S. Smith. Changes in Association between Previous Therapeutic Abortion and Preterm Birth in Scotland, 1980 to 2008: A Historical Cohort Study. PLoS Medicine, 2013; 10 (7): e1001481 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001481

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Modern methods of abortion are not linked with an increased risk of preterm birth, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710062437.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, July 10). Modern methods of abortion are not linked with an increased risk of preterm birth, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710062437.htm
Public Library of Science. "Modern methods of abortion are not linked with an increased risk of preterm birth, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710062437.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins