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Endometriosis linked to greater risk of pregnancy complications

Nationwide studies have revealed that women with endometriosis are at an increased risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Women with a history of endometriosis whose pregnancies progress beyond 24 weeks were found to be at a higher than average risk of complications, including life-threatening haemorrhages and pre-term birth.

Dr Saraswat, a consultant gynaecologist from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in the UK explained that the impact of endometriosis -- a relatively common condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) are found elsewhere in the pelvic area -- is relatively unknown in pregnancy in general populations of women.

A significantly higher risk of early pregnancy complications

This latest nationwide study compared the reproductive and pregnancy outcomes in 5,375 women with endometriosis with those of 8,280 women without endometriosis who were pregnant at the same time. After adjustments for age and previous pregnancy, results showed that women with endometriosis had a significantly higher risk of early pregnancy complications than the controls. This risk was 76 per cent higher for miscarriage and nearly three-times higher for ectopic pregnancy.

In women with a previous diagnosis of endometriosis the risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including ante- and postpartum haemorrhage and preterm birth, was also significantly increased.

Dr Saraswat said that endometriosis is associated with increased inflammation in the pelvis and structural and functional changes in the lining of the uterus.

"We believe such changes in the pelvic and uterine environment could influence implantation and development of placenta, predisposing them to adverse pregnancy outcomes," Dr Saraswat said.

Women with endometriosis require increased monitoring

As a result of these studies, doctors nationwide have spoken out and advised that women with endometriosis will require increased antenatal monitoring.

If doctors know that women with endometriosis are more at risk, they can monitor them more closely and admit them to a specialist unit at the first sign of trouble, limiting the dangers to the mother. Catching a haemorrhage early can save the life of both the mother and child.

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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: July 22, 2015.

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