Preterm first pregnancy may predict stillbirth

The population-based cohort study linked first and second births for 52,110 women using the NSW Midwives Data Collection and the NSW Perinatal Deaths Database. 

Having a baby weighing under the 10th percentile in a first pregnancy increased the risk of stillbirth in a second pregnancy by 73%, and the risk was even greater – more than fivefold – if the baby was born prematurely.

The Sydney-based researchers, from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Kolling Institute, found that for women aged 30–34 years, the absolute risk of stillbirth in a second pregnancy when the first was a stillbirth was nearly 4.84 in 1000 but even greater (7.19 per 1000) among women whose first pregnancy was small for gestational age and preterm. It suggested common underlying mechanisms for stillbirth related to placental dysfunction, the authors said.

A maternal-fetal medicine expert said in an editorial that traditionally a history of stillbirth

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