Moms-to-be who experience first trimester bleeding are more likely to develop certain complications as their current pregnancies progress—and this risk appears to carry over into future pregnancies, too, according to a new research from Denmark. The study, published in the May 2010 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, looked at records for nearly 800,000 Danish women who delivered a first baby between 1978 and 2007 (540,000 of these women also had a second child during this time period). Approximately 2 percent of women in the study experienced first trimester bleeding. In this group, women also showed elevated rates of preterm delivery, problems with the placenta during delivery, and premature rupture of membranes, a complication in which a woman's water breaks before labor begins.
Looking at these women in their second pregnancies, researchers found that even when moms did not experience first trimester bleeding again, they were still at increased risk for preterm delivery and premature membrane rupture. According to researchers' findings, 8.2 percent of women delivered their babies at 32 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, compared to 2.2 percent of women who did not bleed in a previous pregnancy. The risk for water breaking too early was slight, but still present—4 percent of women who had experienced bleeding in their first pregnancy had premature rupture of membranes in their second pregnancy, compared to 3 percent of women who did not have bleeding.
Changed care providers as you embark on your second pregnancy? Take time at your first prenatal checkup to talk to your new doctor or midwife about your previous pregnancy and any complications you experienced (especially early pregnancy bleeding). Studies like this one highlight how important personal medical history is to keeping you and Baby healthy. Make sure to have your old records sent before your first visit—and follow up to make sure they arrived.
According to researchers (as noted in a Reuters Health article on the study), the new findings suggest that doctors should keep a closer eye on pregnant women who have experienced first-trimester vaginal bleeding. Information in your records may provide important clues for your provider on how to best care for and monitor your pregnancy.