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Previous Caesareans do not increase stillbirth risk, say researchers

Women who have had a Caesarean section do not have an increased risk of stillbirth in subsequent pregnancies, according to new research
Women who have had a Caesarean section do not have an increased risk of stillbirth in subsequent pregnancies, according to new research from the University of Calgary in Canada.

The findings, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, suggest that the level of a mother's obesity may be a factor in stillbirths, contradicting earlier research that linked Caesarean sections with stillbirths in subsequent pregnancies.

The earlier study had failed to account for the effect of maternal obesity which is associated with both Caesarean birth and stillbirth, say the University of Calgary researchers.

Dr Stephen Wood, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said: "Our study strongly suggests that previous Caesarean section does not increase the risk of stillbirth in subsequent pregnancies.

"Although previous research has made a link between the two, it is likely that maternal obesity played a part as it was not controlled for.

"Obesity has been a consistently observed risk factor for both stillbirth and Caesarean section … As Caesarean section is increasingly common and stillbirth is a very important outcome, further research in this area is required."

The study analysed more than 150,000 second births with information obtained on demographic characteristics, pregnancy complications, mode of delivery and outcome of live or stillbirth.

Information was also gained on factors that could impact on the results such as maternal diabetes, maternal weight, hypertension and smoking during pregnancy.

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