Pregnant women who have complications in the first trimester of pregnancy should be supervised more closely in current and future pregnancies, latest research suggests.
A team of researchers from the UK, Spain, Denmark and The Netherlands reviewed 75 studies, carried out between 1980 and 2008, which looked at the impact of early pregnancy complications.
They found that problems in the first three months of pregnancy significantly increased the risk of further complications in the same pregnancy, and in subsequent pregnancies.
According to the researchers, vaginal bleeding in the first trimester increased the risk of pre-eclampsia and premature delivery, and more than doubled the risk of low birth weight.
The researchers also found that pregnant women with a history of one or more miscarriages had almost twice the risk of pre-term premature rupture of the membrane that surrounds the baby in the womb, and an increased risk of premature delivery.
Additionally, extreme early morning sickness was associated with a three times higher risk of premature birth, and a nearly three-fold risk of low birth weight.
Lead study author Robbert van Oppenraaij, from the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, said: ‘Events and complications in early pregnancy are amongst the most common complications in women during their pregnancy and can be extremely distressing for them.
‘While it is true that most conditions are difficult to prevent, with improved monitoring in high risk pregnancies it is possible to reduce perinatal or postnatal foetal complications.
‘For the clinician, it is important to interpret the symptoms and to understand not only the short-term consequences, but also the long-term consequences of these early pregnancy complications,’ he added.
The study results were presented today at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.