Abortion may not, after all, affect birth weight of future babies


No statistically significant difference found between women with a history of 1 medically-induced abortion and those with no abortion history.

A major study in China, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, addresses the controversy over abortion and the birth weight of subsequent pregnancies.

Until now, few studies have investigated this.

To assess the effect of a medical abortion on a subsequent pregnancy's birth weight, researchers analysed approximately 13,000 live term births over a 31-month period.

The researchers compared the rates of Low Birth Weights in the first subsequent pregnancy of women with a history of 1 medically-induced abortion and those with no abortion history.

No statistically significant difference was found between the 2 group's birth weights

In fact, at 1.0%, rates of Low Birth Weight are actually lower amongst women who had undergone a medically induced abortion. Women with no abortion history had Low Birth Weight rates of 1.2%.

7 million abortions are performed annually in China in a medical setting. Medically induced abortions (MA) account for 40-50% of abortions, and approximately two-thirds of the women who receive an MA are unmarried and have no children.

Says Dr. Louis Keith, assistant editor of the journal: "This paper from China addresses an important and long-standing question regarding the effect of elective medical pregnancy termination on health in a subsequent pregnancy. The authors state that this is an important public health issue in China, but the conclusion should also be of interest to providers of family planning and medical abortion services in all countries."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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