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Miscarriage and infertility treatment increase pre-eclampsia risk

Repeated miscarriages and hormone treatment for infertility give an increased risk of pre-eclampsia among pregnant women. This comes from a new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. More than 20 000 first-time mothers from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) were included in the study.

Normal risk

  • First-time mothers who had not miscarried or had problems getting pregnant had a 5.2 % risk of pre-eclampsia.

Risk after miscarriage

  • Women who had three or more miscarriages had a 50 % increased risk of pre-eclampsia compared with women who had not miscarried.
  • Women who had one or two miscarriages are not thought to be at higher risk.
  • Among women who had both miscarriages and treatment for infertility, the risk for pre-eclampsia was 13 %.

Risk after infertility treatment

  • The study also shows that women who had infertility treatment had a 25 % higher risk of pre-eclampsia.
  • Women who became pregnant after hormone treatment to stimulate ovulation had a doubled risk of pre-eclampsia compared to women without treatment.
  • Assisted conception treatment was not linked to an increased risk, even though hormone stimulation is part of the procedure.
  • Different causes of infertility (polycystic ovary syndrome, blocked Fallopian tubes etc.) can probably explain the difference in risk for pre-eclampsia. It is likely that factors in mothers that cause infertility may also give an increased risk of pre-eclampsia.
  • It is less likely that the treatment itself explains the increased risk, even if this cannot be excluded.

The study has been recently published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, BJOG.

Placenta important for normal development

The causes of pre-eclampsia are unknown, but involve the placenta. The placenta is important for normal develo

Contact: Media Contact
Norwegian Institute of Public Health

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