IVF link to spontaneous preterm birth


Wednesday, 15 November, 2017


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It is well known that preterm birth is more likely among women who have undergone IVF than those who conceived naturally, but whether those early births were spontaneous or induced by doctors was unclear. Now, Italian scientists have found that IVF is linked with a major increase in the risk of a spontaneous preterm birth.

A new analysis of published studies found an approximate 80% increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth (both before 37 and 34 weeks) when women become pregnant via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) than through spontaneous conception. The Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology analysis included 15 studies with approximately 62,000 patients and about 3800 preterm births events.

“Placental development may play a key role in the pathogenesis of spontaneous preterm birth in IVF pregnancies. We recommend ultrasound cervical screening in this high-risk group in order to apply timely preventive strategies,” said lead author Dr Paolo Cavoretto, of the IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy. “Future research reporting pregnancy outcomes should always emphasise etiological differentiation of preterm birth.”

However, the quality of the evidence was low, suggesting further studies would be required to back up the findings.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Christoph Burgstedt

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