Women who have multiple abortions prior to the birth of their first child risk giving birth prematurely, a new large-scale study has discovered.

Looking at the data from more than 300,000 first time mothers in Finland between 1996 and 2008, the scientists, from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, found that women were three times more likely to have a premature baby born before 28 weeks if they had three or more abortions.

The study found a strong link between abortion and the date of birth, but the scientists stressed the overall risk still remains low.

The scientists claim that three babies were born before 28 weeks per every 1,000 women who had never had an abortion. This rose to four per every 1,000 for women who'd had two abortions, six in women who had undergone two abortions and 11 if the woman had undergone three abortions.

Lead researcher Dr Reija Klemetti said: "Our results suggest that induced abortions before the first birth, particularly three or more abortions, are associated with a marginally increased risk during the first birth.

"However, the increased risk is very small, particularly after only one or even two abortions, and women should not be alarmed by our findings."

Story posted by Robert Mair on 30/08/2012