Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Underweight women at greater risk of miscarriage - but having a healthy diet and reducing stress when pregnant may lower risk.

04.12.2006
Women who have a low body mass index before they become pregnant are 72% more likely to suffer a miscarriage in the first three months of pregnancy, but can reduce their risk significantly by taking supplements and eating fresh fruit and vegetables, according to study findings published online today.

These are some of the findings of a new study, which appears today in the online edition of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The study, from a team based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, aimed to examine the association between biological, behavioural and lifestyle risk factors and the risk of miscarriage, which affects an estimated quarter of a million women in the UK every year1.

While there are a number of well-established risk factors, such as increased maternal age, a previous history of miscarriage, and infertility, the causes of the majority of miscarriages are not fully understood. Many supposed risk factors, for example alcohol consumption, smoking and caffeine intake, remain controversial or unconfirmed.

The researchers questioned 603 women aged 18-55 in the UK whose most recent pregnancy had ended in first trimester miscarriage (less than 13 weeks gestation) and 6,116 women whose most recent pregnancy had progressed beyond 12 weeks. The women were asked about socio-demographic, behavioural and other factors in their most recent pregnancy. The findings confirmed the findings of previous studies into possible risk factors, for example in relation to increased maternal age and alcohol consumption, but they also revealed a number of interesting new associations.

They found that underweight women were 72% more likely to miscarry in the first trimester. However, women who took vitamin supplements during early pregnancy reduced their risk by around 50%, with the effect being most pronounced among those taking folic acid or iron and multivitamins, which contain these. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables daily or on most days was also found to halve the odds of miscarriage and, in a finding that will delight pregnant women everywhere, the consumption of chocolate was also found to be associated with lower risk.

There were a number of other interesting new findings. If a woman was not married or living with a partner, her risk of miscarriage was higher. If she had changed partner (for example, after having been pregnant before by a previous partner), her odds increased by 60%. If she had had a previous termination, the odds of subsequent miscarriage appeared to rise by more than 60%, while fertility problems were associated with 41% increased odds. All types of assisted reproduction were associated with increased odds, but the ratios were highest among pregnancies resulting from intrauterine insemination or artificial insemination.

Women who described their pregnancy as ‘planned’ had 40% reduced odds of miscarriage. But within this group, those who took more than a year to conceive were twice as likely to miscarry as those who had conceived within three months.

The authors found confirmation for the widely-held belief that morning sickness is an indicator that the pregnancy is progressing well. Women who suffered from nausea and sickness in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy were almost 70% less likely to miscarry, and the more severe the sickness, the better the odds of the pregnancy continuing.

Noreen Maconochie, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and lead author of the study, comments: ‘An estimated one in five pregnancies in the UK will end in miscarriage2. It can be a very distressing experience for women, and any advice on how they can improve their chances of achieving a full-term pregnancy is likely to be welcome.

‘Our study confirms the findings of previous studies which suggest that following a healthy diet, reducing stress and looking after your emotional wellbeing may all play a role in helping women in early pregnancy, or planning a pregnancy, to reduce their risk of miscarriage. The findings related to low pre-pregnancy weight, previous termination, stress and change of partner are noteworthy, and we suggest further work be initiated to confirm these findings in other study populations’.

The Miscarriage Association, which sponsored this study, commented: ‘We speak to thousands of women who are desperate to find out why they miscarried and what they can do to prevent it happening again; that’s why we commissioned this research. While we still don’t have all the answers, these findings are going to help women who want to reduce their risk of losing a baby in pregnancy’.

For further information, or to contact the authors, please contact the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Press Office on 020 7927 2073/2802. Contact the Miscarriage Association at 01924 200795.

Lindsay Wright | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>