London: Women who terminate their first pregnancy could be risking not only their own health but also that of their next baby, researchers have warned. These women are at greater risk of a range of problems, from their next child being born prematurely to pre-eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that can be fatal to mother and baby, they said.

Crucially, just one abortion appeared to be enough to do the damage, with subsequent terminations not being any more dangerous, a daily reported.

This differs from previous studies that found the risks rise with each abortion. Most of the risks were linked to surgical abortions and not those that use pills, which are becoming increasingly common.

Researchers at Aberdeen University analysed the medical records of more than 600,000 Scottish women, including many who had aborted their first baby.

The data, spanning three decades, showed a woman who had an abortion the first time she conceived was 37 per cent more likely to give birth prematurely the next time she became pregnant, compared with one who was having her first child.

She was also 67 per cent more likely to give birth early than a woman who had already started her family.
However, the risks were still lower than those faced by a woman who had suffered a miscarriage, the researchers said at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.

A woman who aborted her first pregnancy was also at higher risk of having a baby of low weight and of developing pre-eclampsia than one who was pregnant for the first time or already had a child.

Pre-eclampsia causes high blood pressure, blood clots and kidney damage, and leads to the deaths of up to 1,000 babies and at least six mothers a year.

Researcher Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya said surgical abortions may be more likely to damage the womb, leading to later problems.

He added women seeking abortions should be made aware of the potential risks and medical terminations should be available to all who would benefit from them.


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