Prof Siladitya Bhattacharya, a gynaecologist, and a team made their conclusions after comparing the second pregnancies of 170,000 women who had previously had an abortion, to 458,000 undergoing their first pregnancies.
They found those who had experienced abortions were 33 per cent more likely to subsequently deliver pre-term than those who had never had an abortion.
They were also 44 per cent more likely to give birth extremely prematurely – before 34 weeks.....
Prof Bhattacharya's wife, Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist, who gave the presentation, said the physical act of surgical abortions in particular could damage the cervix.
She explained: "When you do a dilatation of the cervix, quite heavy, thick instruments are used."