Promising findings are emerging from novel approaches to identifying individual pregnant patients at risk of preterm birth. Researchers supported by the Population Dynamics Branch recently analyzed data on birth outcomes in a large cohort of women who had been evaluated or treated for infertility, comparing them with outcomes of infertile women who were able to achieve pregnancy without treatment and with fertile women.
They limited their analyses to outcomes in women with singleton pregnancies—those leading to the birth of just one child—in women who had not previously given birth. The researchers found that:
- Women who received infertility treatment were more likely to be somewhat older and obese, and also more likely to experience gestational diabetes and certain other pregnancy complications.
- Women in all three groups who were giving birth to their first child were all at elevated risk of preterm birth, regardless of other factors.
They did not find, however, that infertility treatment had elevated the risk of preterm birth, although it did seem to increase the risk low weight of an infant at birth (PMID: 22633266).