Mothers who have had an abortion are much more likely to give birth to an underweight or premature baby in the future, a new study has concluded.
The study found that mothers who have had one abortion in the first or second trimester of pregnancy have a 35 per cent increased risk of having a low-weight baby.
It also found these mothers had a 36 per cent increased risk of having a premature child.
If a mother had had more than one abortion her risk of having a premature baby rose by 93 per cent while her risk of having an underweight baby increased by 72 per cent.
This new research follows another study made public in June that found similar links between abortion and premature births.
The new report reviewed 37 studies carried out in different countries between 1965 to 2001.
One of the authors behind the report, Dr Prakesh Shah, said it was important mothers knew the risks of abortion.
Dr Shah said: “When a woman comes for induced termination of pregnancy, she should be counselled about that risk.”
While the Canadian-based doctor believes more research was needed, he said with the new findings women “will be able to make an informed choice”.
Josephine Quintavalle of the Pro-Life Alliance said: “It’s not hard to believe these findings when you consider the trauma of an operation and the process of forcing open the cervix at a time when the body’s first instinct is to protect the unborn baby.”
The study was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Separate research reported in June looked at over 75 investigations conducted between 1980 and 2008 and found an association between abortion and premature births.
The authors said at the time that further research would be needed for a clearer link to be established.
Dr Robbert van Oppenraaij, who headed the research, commented: “It can be concluded that a history of abortion is associated with an increased risk for premature delivery and very premature delivery.”