Public Release: 

Abortion may not, after all, affect birth weight of future babies

No statistically significant difference found between women with a history of 1 medically-induced abortion and those with no abortion history.


A major study in China, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, addresses the controversy over abortion and the birth weight of subsequent pregnancies.

Until now, few studies have investigated this.

To assess the effect of a medical abortion on a subsequent pregnancy's birth weight, researchers analysed approximately 13,000 live term births over a 31-month period.

The researchers compared the rates of Low Birth Weights in the first subsequent pregnancy of women with a history of 1 medically-induced abortion and those with no abortion history.

No statistically significant difference was found between the 2 group's birth weights

In fact, at 1.0%, rates of Low Birth Weight are actually lower amongst women who had undergone a medically induced abortion. Women with no abortion history had Low Birth Weight rates of 1.2%.

7 million abortions are performed annually in China in a medical setting. Medically induced abortions (MA) account for 40-50% of abortions, and approximately two-thirds of the women who receive an MA are unmarried and have no children.

Says Dr. Louis Keith, assistant editor of the journal: "This paper from China addresses an important and long-standing question regarding the effect of elective medical pregnancy termination on health in a subsequent pregnancy. The authors state that this is an important public health issue in China, but the conclusion should also be of interest to providers of family planning and medical abortion services in all countries."


This study was conducted at three research centers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu and will appear in the March issue of the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics (volume 84, issue 3). Authors were CHENG, Yimin and WANG, Xianmi from the National Research Institute for Family Planning, Beijing, YUAN, Wei and WU, Junqing from the Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood, and CAI, Weidong and LUO, Lin from the Sichuan Family Planning Research Institute.

The full text of the article is available online at

Contact person:
Louis G. Keith, M.D.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Northwestern University Medical School
333 East Superior Street, Room 464 Chicago IL 60611
Tel: +1 312-926-7487
Fax: +1 312-908-8500

© 2004 International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

About the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
The International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics (, published by Elsevier, is the official journal of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics is a monthly peer-reviewed journal and publishes articles on all aspects of basic and clinical research in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology and related subjects, with emphasis on matters of worldwide interest.

The information contained in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and the Journal recommends consultation with your physician or healthcare professional.

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