Miscarriage could be associated with a higher risk of early death in women, new research has found.
A study by US-based researchers published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has said women who had a miscarriage were 19 per cent more likely to die prematurely.
The research took into account potentially influencing factors, such as age, race and health conditions, alongside post-pregnancy dietary and lifestyle factors.
Researchers suggested that women who had a miscarriage were 19 per cent more likely to die prematurely than women who did not experience a pregnancy loss.
The risk of early death was particularly identified with repeated miscarriages, and those that have taken place early on in a woman’s life.
The researchers said their work has shown miscarriage “could be an early marker of future health risk in women”.
The authors of the research paper investigated the association of miscarriage – which they termed “spontaneous abortion” – with the risk of death before the age of 70.
Researchers used data from 101,681 women as part of the Nurses’ Health Study in the US, which consists of female nurses between the ages of 25 and 42.
Researchers said that across a 24-year follow-up period, 2,936 premature deaths were recorded, including 1,346 from cancer and 269 from cardiovascular disease.
The study’s authors said although death rates from all causes were comparable for women with and without a history of miscarriage, they were higher for women experiencing three or more miscarriages, as well as for women reporting their first miscarriage before the age of 24.
Looking at cause-specific mortality, the study found that the association of miscarriage with premature death was strongest for deaths from cardiovascular disease. However, there was no link with death from premature cancer.
‘More research is needed to establish how spontaneous abortion is related to women’s long term health’
The researchers said they 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,” the researchers added.
“Our results suggest that spontaneous abortion could be an early marker of future health risk in women, including premature death.
However, the study’s authors also said their research has some limitations, including that it remains unknown whether experiencing a pregnancy loss “merely unmasks pre-existing risks or instead triggers or accelerates the development of premature death”.
The researchers added: “More research is needed to establish how spontaneous abortion is related to women’s long term health and the mechanisms underlying these relations.”