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Monday 24th October 2016

Risk of premature birth is genetic

25th May 2010

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen have said they believe the danger of giving birth to a premature baby could be genetic.

Premature Baby

They studied the records of 22,343 Scottish mothers and daughters and found that women who had a premature birth, or had siblings who were born prematurely, had 50-60% more likelihood of giving birth prematurely themselves.

Premature birth is one of the primary causes of death in newborn infants and it can cause conditions including cerebral palsy.

The authors of the study looked at information from the Aberdeen Maternity Neonatal Databank, which is held as a significant source of data, due to the fact that many women give birth at the same hospital.

The study did not look at multiple births. The researchers found mothers were 60% more likely to give birth prematurely when it was their first baby, and 50% more likely to have a premature birth in later pregnancies.

Lead author of the study Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya said: "Our research supports a genetic predisposition to preterm birth. Further research should focus on the identification of candidate genes for the condition."

Andy Cole, Chief Executive of Bliss, the special care baby charity, said: "We welcome any research that helps us better understand the causes of preterm birth and identify those at high risk. While this study's findings are interesting, further research is still needed in this area."


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