London: Aborting first-time pregnancies can increase the future risk of premature births by 37 per cent, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen found that women who terminate their first pregnancy could be risking not only their own health but also that of their next baby, the Daily Mail reported.
The study carried out on 6,20,000 Scottish women between 1981 and 2007 found that women who had up to four abortions were no more at risk of premature births than those who had just one.
Abortion can put women at a higher risk of a range of problems, from their next child being born prematurely to pre-eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that can be fatal to mother and baby.
This differs from previous studies that found the risks rise with each abortion.
Most of the risks were linked to surgical abortions and not those that use pills, which are becoming increasingly common.
The data showed a woman who had an abortion the first time she conceived was 37 per cent more likely to give birth prematurely the next time she became pregnant, compared with one who was having her first child.
She was also 67 per cent more likely to give birth early than a woman who had already started her family.
However, the risks were still lower than those faced by a woman who had suffered a miscarriage, researchers told the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.
A woman who aborted her first pregnancy was also at higher risk of having a baby of low weight and of developing pre-eclampsia than one who was pregnant for the first time or already had a child, the report said.