Published Papers - Abstract 356

Herbert D, Lucke J & Dobson A. Pregnancy losses in young Australian women: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Women's Health Issues, 2009; 19(1): 21-29

Introduction: Little research has examined recognized pregnancy losses in a general population. Data from an Australian cohort study provide an opportunity to quantify this aspect of fecundity at a population level.Method: Participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study onWomen’s Health who were aged 28–33 years in 2006 (n¼9,145) completed up to 4 mailed surveys over 10 years. Participants were categorized according to the recognized outcome of their pregnancies, including live birth, miscarriage/ stillbirth, termination/ectopic, or no Pregnancy.Results: At age 18–23, more women reported terminations (7%) than miscarriages (4%). By 28–33 years, the cumulative frequency of miscarriage (15%) was as common as termination (16%). For women aged 28–33 years who had ever been pregnant (n ¼ 5,343), pregnancy outcomes were as follows: birth only (50%); loss only (18%); and birth and loss (32%), of which half (16%) were birth and miscarriage. A comparison between first miscarriage and first birth (no miscarriage) showed that most first miscarriages occurred in women aged 18–23 years who also reported a first birth at the same survey (15%). Half (51%) of all first births and first miscarriages inwomen aged 18–19 ended in miscarriage. Early childbearers (,28 years) often had miscarriages around the same time period as their first live birth, suggesting proactive family formation. Delayed childbearers (32–33 years) had more first births than first miscarriages.Conclusion: Recognized pregnancy losses are an important measure of fecundity in the general population because they indicate successful conception and maintenance of pregnancy to varying reproductive endpoints.