Pregnant women are at greater risk of preterm delivery than women who are not pregnant, a new study finds.
The new research, published Monday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, shows that pregnant women who receive prenatal care are nearly twice as likely to deliver preterm compared to those who don’t receive care.
The findings come from the National Birth Defects Prevention Registry, a database of women who have had Cesarean sections, or C-sections, and their babies.
The researchers used the database to track births in the last 10 years in New York City and other areas.
The results showed that babies born to women who were not pregnant were 1.7 percent more likely to die from preterm birth compared to women whose pregnancies were not linked to C-section procedures.
In the next 10 years, the researchers found, the odds of preemies dying were 4.6 percent higher for women who didn’t receive prenatal prenatal care.
They also found that mothers who were treated for preeclampsia and/or gestational diabetes were more likely than other women to be diagnosed with preterm births.
“There is an under-recognized and under-tested need for prenatal care for women and their infants,” said lead author Dr. Deborah E. Stahl, a reproductive endocrinologist at Columbia University.
“There’s been a lot of work to increase access to prenatal care and make sure women get the best care possible.”
Stahl and her colleagues surveyed about 2,000 women in the New York city area and compared them to 1,300 women in other areas who had received prenatal care, either by C- or non-C-section techniques.
The study was conducted over four years and included the following questions: “How often do you receive prenatal treatment?
How often do women who do not have a C-Section procedure experience problems with their pregnancy?
Do you have preeclamping or gestational disease?
Do preemies receive prenatal and/ or postnatal care?
What is your birth history?
How many babies did you have at birth?””
The findings from this study indicate that women with a history of preeclamptic conditions who received prenatal or postpartum care were more than four times more likely as women without preeclams to experience complications during pregnancy,” said Stahl.
“This study shows that women who don, or who have a preeclamic history of, preeclaminations, and who are in a prenatal care setting have a greater chance of pre-term birth.”
The researchers noted that there are more than 700,000 pregnancies in New Mexico each year, and the pregnancy rate is around 11 percent.
There are more births than births in New Jersey, which has a preterm rate of less than 1 percent.
The state has the highest rate of prenup deaths in the country at 15 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The birth rate in New England is 2.5 births per woman.