Being born early puts women at a higher risk for developing pregnancy complications later in life, a new study has found.
The risk of having at least one pregnancy complication (such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia or eclampsia) was nearly double for women born before 32 weeks' gestation compared to those born at term (37 weeks), researchers found in a study published online this week by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The risk for women born at between 32 and 36 weeks' gestation, was higher than that of women born at term, but lower than that of women born before 32 weeks, the study found.
"Before pregnancy, women born preterm may have undiagnosed risk factors for the studied pregnancy complications related to their preterm birth," the study says.
Researchers said they could not control a potential hereditary component in their study as hospital diagnoses of the women's mothers were not available.
The findings suggest that an expectant mother's gestation age at birth should be considered by her doctors.
"The impact of the patients' preterm birth on obstetric care should be taken into account in the care of pregnant patients, as well as in the allocation of resources in the health-care system," the study concludes.
For the study, researchers looked at 7,405 women in Quebec who were born preterm and 16,714 women born at term between 1976 and 1995 who had a live or stillbirth between 1987 and 2008.
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