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Short and long term mortality rates associated with first pregnancy outcome: Population register based study for Denmark 1980–2004

David C. Reardon, Priscilla K. Coleman

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(9): PH71-76

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.883338


Background:    There is a growing interest in examining death rates associated with different pregnancy outcomes for time periods beyond one year. Previous population studies, however, have failed to control for complete reproductive histories. In this study we seek to eliminate the potential confounding effect of unknown prior pregnancy history by examining mortality rates associated specifically with first pregnancy outcome alone. We also examine differences in mortality rates associated with early abortion and late abortions (after 12 weeks).
    Material/Method:    Medical records for the entire population of women born in Denmark between 1962 and 1991 and were alive in 1980, were linked to death certificates. Mortality rates associated with first pregnancy outcomes (delivery, miscarriage, abortion, and late abortion) were calculated. Odds ratios examining death rates based on reproductive outcomes, adjusted for age at first pregnancy and year of women’s births, were also calculated.
    Results:    A total of 463,473 women had their first pregnancy between 1980 and 2004, of whom 2,238 died. In nearly all time periods examined, mortality rates associated with miscarriage or abortion of a first pregnancy were higher than those associated with birth. Compared to women who delivered, the age and birth year adjusted cumulative risk of death for women who had a first trimester abortion was significantly higher in all periods examined, from 180 days (OR=1.84; 1.11 <95% CI <3.71) through 10 years (1.39; 1.22 <95% CI <1.61), as was the risk for women who had abortions after 12 weeks from one year (OR=4.31; 2.18 <95% CI <8.54) through 10 years (OR=2.41; 1.56 <95% CI <2.41). For women who miscarried, the risk was significantly higher for cumulative deaths through 4 years (OR=1.75; 1.34 <95% CI <2.27) and at10 years (OR=1.48; 1.18 <95% CI <1.85).
    Conclusions:    Compared to women who delivered, women who had an early or late abortion had significantly higher mortality rates within 1 through 10 years. A lesser effect may also be present relative to miscarriage. Recommendations for additional research are offered.

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