The research revealed that 8.8 percent of the births among the women in the study were preterm, compared to 6.7 percent among the general population in England.
The women treated for cervical changes before pregnancy had about 1.4 more preterm births per 100 than those who had only a biopsy. The researchers noted, however, that the women who gave birth before undergoing a colposcopy also were more likely to give birth prematurely than those who had only a biopsy.
"Clearly treatment that has not occurred until after a birth cannot be causing preterm births," Sasieni pointed out in the news release.
The researchers concluded that treatment for cervical abnormalities did not increase women's risk for preterm delivery.
"Women should have more confidence in going for cervical screening and accepting the treatment offered to them," Sasieni said. LLETZ "should still be seen as the treatment of choice. It would be premature to start using other treatments such as cryotherapy that may be less effective in treating cervical disease, in the hope that it would result in fewer preterm births."
The study authors noted that quality-assurance issues in other countries may play a role in previous findings, which suggested there is a high risk of preterm birth associated with LLETZ. They added that more research is needed to investigate why the other studies found an increased risk and whether extensive cervical treatment or repeat treatments increase the risk of premature delivery.
Commenting on the findings, Julietta Patnick, director of the United Kingdom's National Health Service Cancer Screening Programs, said, "[The findings] are an encouraging reflection of the high standards of our N.H.S. practitioners and our robust system of quality assurance."
Patnick added, however, that, "previous studies have shown that treatments, including colposcopy and LLETZ, are linked to an increased r
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