This is the first major study to investigate the link between spontaneous abortion and the risk of early death in women. A group of American scientists analyzed data on more than 101 thousand nurses who took part in a large-scale study of the health of women of reproductive age from 1993 to 2017.
During the observation period, the participants filled out a questionnaire every two years, in which they answered questions about their health status, lifestyle, as well as about pregnancies and their outcomes. In this cohort, there were 25.6% of women who had at least one miscarriage.
In just 24 years of observation, 2936 cases of premature death were recorded among the participants, including 1346 from cancer and 269 from cardiovascular diseases. Overall, all-cause mortality rates were comparable for women with and without a history of miscarriage, but were higher for those who had three or more miscarriages. Women who had their first miscarriage before the age of 24, that is, at the beginning of reproductive age, were also at risk.
After adjusting the data for various factors such as lifestyle and nutrition, the researchers found that women who had a spontaneous abortion were, on average, 19% more likely to die prematurely than their peers without a history of miscarriage.
The strongest link was found between miscarriage and the risk of premature death from cardiovascular diseases – by 48%. At the same time, data analysis did not reveal a relationship between spontaneous abortion and an increased likelihood of death from cancer.
Since this is an observational study, scientists cannot pinpoint the exact reasons for this phenomenon. According to them, spontaneous abortion may be an early marker of serious health problems in women.