ART leads to normal birthing process

baby girl

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have found no difference in the birthing process whether a woman gets pregnant the old fashioned way or with assisted reproduction (ART).

Dr. Liv Bente Romundstad and colleagues from the NTNU and St. Olav’s University Hospital in Trondheim looked at over 1.2 million pregnancies in Norway between 1984 and 2006. ART was utilized in 8229 of those pregnancies.

In a series of articles in Lancet and Human Reproduction, they reported finding no difference in birth weight, gestational age, risks of being small for gestational age, and preterm delivery. Researchers did find a higher risk of breech positioning in assisted fertilization, but explained those results as a condition of the medical attention the mothers received.

Five percent of ART babies are born in breech position as compared to three percent of spontaneously produced babies. Dr. Romundstad explained that mothers who have children through assisted fertilization are usually older than average, have shorter pregnancies and fewer previous births. All these conditions naturally lead to breech positioning regardless of how the baby was conceived. “If a child is born before the end of the gestation period, it is not clear that the child has time to assume the head-down position,” Dr. Romundstad says.

Once adjustments were made for those criteria, the difference disappeared.

Which leads to the second key factor which may create the breech births. Norwegian birth protocol for ART babies generally calls for early, Cesarean delivery with a highly monitored pregnancy.

So while there may be an increase in breech positioning, it can be explained by the earlier delivery of the scheduled Cesarean and not the technology used to conceive the child. And this will disappear as medical opinion changes. “There is no reason to handle mothers who have used assisted reproduction differently than other mothers of the same age who have had the same number of births,” concluded Dr. Romundstad.

Source: NTNU, Medical News Today


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