Women who have abortions could be posing a risk to future children, according to research published today. A Canadian medical study found that those who abort a pregnancy could run the risk of giving birth to premature of low-weight children in subsequent pregnancies. It discovered that women who had undergone more than one abortion had a 72 per cent increased risk for low birth weight and 93 per cent risk of prematurity.
It also found that women who had an abortion in the first or second trimester had a 35 per cent increased risk of giving birth to a low-weight birth baby and a 36 per cent increased risk of having a premature baby,
The study was set up to investigate why babies are born premature and underweight. The researchers looked at 37 studies around the world carried out between 1965 and 2001 to determine whether previous abortion may be one of the factors. The authors of the review, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, say there could be several reasons for their findings - the most likely of which is physical damage to the cervix caused by older methods of abortion.
The author of the review, Dr Prakesh Shah, of the paediatrics department at the at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto, said: 'When a woman comes for induced termination of pregnancy, she should be counselled about that risk. ‘At least she will be able to make an informed choice.’
Josephine Quintavalle of the Pro-Life Alliance said: ‘Women having counselling over difficult or unplanned pregnancies should be made aware of all the consequences.’