Infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth have been linked to an increased risk of strokes in a new study.

Experts examined global data and found that women who had had three miscarriages or more appeared to have a 35% increased risk of non-fatal stroke, or one resulting in death.

One miscarriage was linked to a 7% increased risk of non-fatal stroke, while two were linked to a 12% increased risk.

For fatal stroke, women with one miscarriage had an 8% increased risk, two were linked to a 26% increased risk and three were linked to an 82% increased risk.

Additionally, the study also found that women who had suffered stillbirth were at 31% higher risk of a non-fatal stroke had a 7% increased risk of fatal stroke.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: One miscarriage was linked to a slightly increased risk of a non-fatal stroke (PA)One miscarriage was linked to a slightly increased risk of a non-fatal stroke (PA)

Meanwhile, recurrent stillbirth was linked to a 26% higher risk of fatal stroke.

Infertility was also linked to a 14% higher risk of non-fatal stroke compared to women who were fertile.

Possible reasonings for this link were thought to be due to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).

Additionally, the blood vessels narrowing in the heart may explain the stroke risk for those who had recurrent stillbirth or miscarriage.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the experts, including from the University of Queensland in Australia and University College London, concluded: “A history of recurrent miscarriages and death or loss of a baby before or during birth could be considered a female-specific risk factor for stroke, with differences in risk according to stroke subtypes.

“These findings could contribute to improved monitoring and stroke prevention for women with such a history.”

Overall, more than 600,000 women aged 32 to 73 at the start of the study were included, of which 9,265 experienced a first non-fatal stroke (2.8%), typically aged 62, and 4,003 (0.7%) experienced a fatal stroke, typically aged 71.

Strokes were identified through self-reported questionnaires, hospital data or national patient registers.

Fatal strokes were recorded through death registries.