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Cancer survivors at risk for more pregnancy complications

A new study published by the University of North Carolina's School of Global Public Health on March 23, 2017, suggests that a woman who successfully becomes pregnant after having being diagnosed with cancer at a young age is at an increased risk for complications during pregnancy. This discovery was made after researchers studied more than 15,000 births to women between the ages of 15 and 39 in the state.

Among those patients observed, former cancer patients were shown to have a higher incidence rate of not only preterm labor and cesarean delivery, but their babies tended to be of lower birth weights as well. Although thought to potentially be a side effect of cancer medications, further investigation is necessary to understand why complications occur as well as whether it may have any impact on the child's future health.

In light of the findings, the study's author reinforces the point that doctors should be even more cautious when dealing with patients with either a past or current history of cancer. This means that they should not only be on the lookout for warning signs that the patient will go into preterm labor, but that they should monitor patient nutrition and the growth of the fetus as well.

As for the patients found to have had the highest risk of going in to preterm labor, defined as giving birth prior to the 37th week of pregnancy, patients that had battled certain types of cancer were found to be at more of a risk than others. Among those, preterm labor was three times more common among those who'd previously survived gynecological cancers and two times more likely for those who'd battled breast cancer.

And for those who'd previously been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, they were found to be at least 60 percent more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications. Depending on the results of future studies, the study's author suggests she might recommend additional fertility counseling for patients before they make treatment decisions.

If you or someone you know has endured pregnancy complications or died as a result of suspected medical error, a Greenville, North Carolina, medical malpractice attorney can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Webmd.com, "Cancer survivors and pregnancy complication risk," Robert Preidt, March 23, 2017

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