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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Feb;190(2):422-7.

Pregnancy-associated mortality after birth, spontaneous abortion, or induced abortion in Finland, 1987-2000.

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  • 1National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Information Division, Helsinki, Finland.



To test the hypothesis that pregnant and recently pregnant women enjoy a "healthy pregnant women effect," we compared the all natural cause mortality rates for women who were pregnant or within 1 year of pregnancy termination with all other women of reproductive age.


This is a population-based, retrospective cohort study from Finland for a 14-year period, 1987 to 2000. Information on all deaths of women aged 15 to 49 years in Finland (n=15,823) was received from the Cause-of-Death Register and linked to the Medical Birth Register (n=865,988 live births and stillbirths), the Register on Induced Abortions (n=156,789 induced abortions), and the Hospital Discharge Register (n=118,490 spontaneous abortions) to identify pregnancy-associated deaths (n=419).


The age-adjusted mortality rate for women during pregnancy and within 1 year of pregnancy termination was 36.7 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies, which was significantly lower than the mortality rate among nonpregnant women, 57.0 per 100,000 person-years (relative risk [RR] 0.64, 95% CI 0.58-0.71). The mortality was lower after a birth (28.2/100,000) than after a spontaneous (51.9/100,000) or induced abortion (83.1/100,000). We observed a significant increase in the risk of death from cerebrovascular diseases after delivery among women aged 15 to 24 years (RR 4.08, 95% CI 1.58-10.55).


Our study supports the healthy pregnant woman effect for all pregnancies, including those not ending in births.

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