Health Fact D&C increases risk of premature birth - Research reveals

Researchers found that D&C which is routinely used by doctors after miscarriage or pregnancy termination, upped the risk of very premature births by nearly 70%.

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Dilation and curettage (D&C) has been revealed to greatly increase the risk of premature births later on.

Researchers found that D&C which entails dilating the cervix and removing any tissue remaining in the womb to prevent infection, and is routinely used by doctors after miscarriage or pregnancy termination, upped the risk of very premature births by nearly 70%.

In a review of 21 studies covering 2 million women, Dutch researchers found that D&C increased the risk of premature birth, that is when a baby is born before 37 weeks, in a subsequent pregnancy by 29%.

The risk of very premature birth, before 32 weeks, rose by 69% while in the general population, the risk of pre-term delivery without a D&C is about 6%.

The additional risk from the operation brings the figure to 7.6%.

Pim Ankum of the Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam, thus said the results “warrant caution in the use of D&C after miscarriage and induced abortion,”

Ankum further said dilation may impair anti-microbial defences, causing genital tract infection, or weaken cervical tightening, both known factors for premature birth.

The research was unveiled in Lisbon at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).

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