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Like mother like offspring: preterm mothers may deliver preterm babies

Posted:  Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Numerous researches have acknowledged the association between maternal low birth weight and the risk for preterm deliveries in the future. However, Canadian researchers may have identified an additional risk factor for preterm birth: the woman was born preterm herself. They found that 13% of women who were born before 37 weeks of gestation gave birth prematurely at least once. This figure increased to 14% in women born before 32 weeks.

The researchers isolated the factor "born preterm" from the factor "birth weight for gestational age” and analysed data from a cohort of 7,405 Quebec women who were born preterm over a period of 19 years, from 1976 to 1995, and compared it with that of women born at term. The results of the study were reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology

"Knowing that being born preterm is a risk factor for expectant mothers, obstetricians could inform their patients of the warning signs of premature labour, so they can be vigilant and respond quickly if contractions occur," said the lead author of the study Dr. Nuyt. She further added, “Including preterm birth in the risk factors for pregnancy would also help to better target women most at risk when a preventive treatment becomes available."

Although still preliminary, once the findings of this study are confirmed, it would be easy to understand the biological and genetic mechanisms underlying preterm deliveries. This would help formulate intervention strategies to prevent preterm labour.

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