Published on 25/05/2010
The chances of a woman giving birth prematurely may be at least partly down to genetics, researchers suspect.
A study by scientists at the University of Aberdeen found that women born prematurely, or with siblings who were born too early, are 60 per cent more likely to have a premature baby themselves in their first pregnancy.
This figure fell to 50 per cent for subsequent pregnancies, the study, published in the American journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, revealed.
Lead researcher Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, said the results could lead to significant benefits in preventing complications arising from premature births.
She said: "Pre-term birth is the leading cause of death and long-term ill- health in babies and children in the developed world.
"Attempts to predict and prevent spontaneous pre-term births are compromised by gaps in our understanding of what causes the condition."
However, she added that more research into the subject was needed, particularly to indentify the specific genes involved.
Dr Bhattacharya's team looked at the maternity records of 22,343 mother-daughter pairs for the study.
Approximately 54,000 babies are born prematurely per year in England alone, representing 8.3 per cent of the total number of live births.
© ActiveQuote Health Ltd. 2010Categories: Medical