By Kelly Young
NEJM Journal Watch
Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD
Delivering preterm is associated with increased maternal mortality risk 40 years later, suggests a study in The BMJ.
Using Swedish registries of 2 million women with singleton deliveries, researchers compared mortality among women who delivered preterm with those who delivered at term (39–41 weeks’ gestation).
Overall, women who delivered before 37 weeks had higher mortality rates during a median 23 years’ follow-up, compared with full-term deliveries (207 vs. 143 deaths per 100,000 person-years). The risk was still significant after adjustment for potential confounders. The relative risk was highest in the first 10 years but stayed significantly elevated for up to 44 years.
The authors write: “Medical records and history taking should routinely include reproductive history that covers preterm delivery and other complications of pregnancy. Women with a history of preterm delivery need long term follow-up for recommended screenings to facilitate detection and treatment of chronic disorders.”