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Does pregnancy put women at risk of autoimmune disease?

dark pregnancy shot.jpg

There's fascinating new evidence on a possible link between pregnancy and autoimmune diseases, which predominantly affect women of reproductive age. As reported by MSNBC.com today:

The question of whether pregnancy might help trigger these diseases has been debated for years. To shed light on the controversy, investigators analyzed medical records of more than 1 million women in Denmark born between 1962 and 1992...

Of the approximately 1 million investigated, 25,570 developed autoimmune diseases. The researchers found that in the first year after conventional deliveries or cesarean sections, women had a 15 or 30 percent greater risk, respectively, of contracting such disorders. Surprisingly, this risk appeared 30 percent lower in the first year following abortion.

The researchers said the increased risk could be explained by the "amplified fetal cell traffic at delivery" (and the fact that these cells mix in the mom's blood and set off a disorder) - a theory explored in a recent Stanford Medicine article.

Previously: U.S. adults face "significant" risk of developing autoimmune disease and Learning about lupus
Photo by seanmcgrath

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