Miscarriage Risk Increases in Underweight WomenChristian Life Resources Staff
12/3/06 - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, News Release
Women who are underweight before they become pregnant greatly increase the risk of suffering a miscarriage in their first trimester of pregnancy, according to a London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study published in the December 2006 online edition of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The "case-control" study, conducted on more than 6,600 women between 18 and 55 years, found the likelihood of miscarriage increased by 72 percent in underweight women in the first three months of pregnancy. That risk can be reduced by 50 percent if women take vitamin supplements, particularly iron and folic acid, or eat daily amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Lead author Dr. Noreen Maconochie and colleagues from the UK school reviewed cases comprised of 603 women whose most recent pregnancy ended in miscarriage at less than 13 weeks gestation. The controls comprised of 6,116 women whose most recent pregnancy had progressed past the first trimester. The authors discovered that women having a low pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI less than 18.5) had a 72 percent higher likelihood of suffering a miscarriage in the first trimester. The evidence did not find that being overweight or obese played a role in miscarriage. The BMI is the ratio between height and weight. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal; 25.0 to 29.9 overweight; and BMI of 30.0 or greater is considered obese. "Our study confirms the findings of previous studies which suggest that following a healthy diet, reducing stress and looking after your emotional well-being may all play a role in helping women in early pregnancy, or planning a pregnancy, to reduce their risk of miscarriage, Dr. Noreen Maconochie said in a prepared statement.
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