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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Obstetrics - Public Health and Epidemiology - Women's Health

Miscarriage, Preterm Delivery, and Stillbirth: Large Variations in Rates within a Cohort of Australian Women
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Author: Alexis J. Hure et al.

by Alexis J. Hure, Jennifer R. Powers, Gita D. Mishra, Danielle L. Herbert, Julie E. Byles, Deborah Loxton

Objectives

We aimed to use simple clinical questions to group women and provide their specific rates of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and stillbirth for reference. Further, our purpose was to describe who has experienced particularly low or high rates of each event.

Methods

Data were collected as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, a national prospective cohort. Reproductive histories were obtained from 5806 women aged 31–36 years in 2009, who had self-reported an outcome for one or more pregnancy. Age at first birth, number of live births, smoking status, fertility problems, use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), education and physical activity were the variables that best separated women into groups for calculating the rates of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and stillbirth.

Results

Women reported 10,247 live births, 2544 miscarriages, 1113 preterm deliveries, and 113 stillbirths. Miscarriage was correlated with stillbirth (r?=?0.09, P<0.001). The calculable rate of miscarriage ranged from 11.3 to 86.5 miscarriages per 100 live births. Women who had high rates of miscarriage typically had fewer live births, were more likely to smoke and were more likely to have tried unsuccessfully to conceive for =12 months. The highest proportion of live preterm delivery (32.2%) occurred in women who had one live birth, had tried unsuccessfully to conceive for =12 months, had used IVF, and had 12 years education or equivalent. Women aged 14–19.99 years at their first birth and reported low physical activity had 38.9 stillbirths per 1000 live births, compared to the lowest rate at 5.5 per 1000 live births.

Conclusion

Different groups of women experience vastly different rates of each adverse pregnancy event. We have used simple questions and established reference data that will stratify women into low- and high-rate groups, which may be useful in counselling those who have experienced miscarriage, preterm delivery, or stillbirth, plus women with fertility intent.

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