US-based researchers said that women who had experienced a miscarriage were 19 per cent more likely to die prematurely. They pointed out that a miscarriage “could be an early marker of future health risk in women.”
Miscarriage may be associated with an increased risk of early death, researchers have said.
The BMJ published a study suggesting that this risk is particularly acute for those who have experienced repeated miscarriages, especially ones that occurred early on in a woman’s life.
The authors of the paper hoped to see if there was any link between miscarriage and a risk of death before the age of 70.
Data used was taken from 101,681 women as part of the Nurses’ Health Study in the US. This was made up of female nurses aged between 25 and 42.
The researchers followed the women for 24 years and said that 2,936 premature deaths were recorded, this included 1,346 from cancer and 269 from cardiovascular disease.
It appeared that death rates from all causes were comparable both for women with and without a history of miscarriage. However, rates were higher for women who had experienced three or more miscarriages as well as for women who had their first miscarriage under the age of 24.
The study found that the association between miscarriage, or “spontaneous abortion,” and premature death was strongest for deaths from cardiovascular disease.
Researchers also noted that there did not seem to be a link between early miscarriage death from premature cancer.
Potentially influencing factors such as age, rage and health conditions as well as lifestyle and dietary factors were taken into account during the study.
Overall, it was concluded that women who had a miscarriage were 19 per cent more likely to die prematurely than women who had not experienced a pregnancy loss.
The researchers said: “We found that spontaneous abortion, particularly recurrent spontaneous abortions and spontaneous abortions occurring early in a woman’s reproductive life, was associated with an increased risk of premature death.
“The greater risk of all cause premature mortality associated with spontaneous abortion was mainly a result of a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
“Our results suggest that spontaneous abortion could be an early marker of future health risk in women, including premature death.”
However, researchers pointed out that more research was needed to work out how miscarriages are related to women’s long term health.
The study’s authors also accepted that their research did not indicate whether or not experiencing a pregnancy loss “merely unmasks pre-existing risks or instead triggers or accelerates the development of premature death.”
NHS data suggests that an estimated one in eight pregnancies will end in misscarriage.
Meanwhile, New Zealand has approved a bill allowing paid leave for women who experience misscarriage and their partners.
This comes as part of an attempt to promote “greater openness about miscarriage.”