Pregnancy losses in young Australian women : findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health

Herbert, Danielle, Lucke, Jayne, & Dobson, Annette (2009) Pregnancy losses in young Australian women : findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Womens Health Issues, 19(1), pp. 21-29.

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INTRODUCTION: Little research has examined recognized pregnancy losses in a general population. Data from an Australian cohort study provide an opportunity to quantify this aspect of fecundity at a population level.

METHOD: Participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health who were aged 28-33 years in 2006 (n = 9,145) completed up to 4 mailed surveys over 10 years. Participants were categorized according to the recognized outcome of their pregnancies, including live birth, miscarriage/stillbirth, termination/ectopic, or no pregnancy.

RESULTS: At age 18-23, more women reported terminations (7%) than miscarriages (4%). By 28-33 years, the cumulative frequency of miscarriage (15%) was as common as termination (16%). For women aged 28-33 years who had ever been pregnant (n = 5,343), pregnancy outcomes were as follows: birth only (50%); loss only (18%); and birth and loss (32%), of which half (16%) were birth and miscarriage. A comparison between first miscarriage and first birth (no miscarriage) showed that most first miscarriages occurred in women aged 18-23 years who also reported a first birth at the same survey (15%). Half (51%) of all first births and first miscarriages in women aged 18-19 ended in miscarriage. Early childbearers (<28 years) often had miscarriages around the same time period as their first live birth, suggesting proactive family formation. Delayed childbearers (32-33 years) had more first births than first miscarriages.

CONCLUSION: Recognized pregnancy losses are an important measure of fecundity in the general population because they indicate successful conception and maintenance of pregnancy to varying reproductive endpoints.

Impact and interest:

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17 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 54129
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Abortion, Spontaneous/ep [Epidemiology], Adult, Age Distribution, Australia/ep [Epidemiology], Cohort Studies, Female, Fertility, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications/ep [Epidemiology], Pregnancy Outcome/ep [Epidemiology], Risk Factors, Women's Health, Young Adult
DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2008.08.007
ISSN: 1049-3867
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 02 Nov 2012 00:58
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2012 01:16

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