Problems during pregnancy could be an indicator a baby will be at a higher risk of cot death, scientists suggest.
A study in Scotland showed mothers who had placenta defects were up to three times more likely to have a baby who went on to suffer cot death.
Researchers from Cambridge University and Glasgow Public Health Board say it could be a factor in around half of sudden infant deaths.
The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A total of 354 babies died from sudden infant death in 2003 in Britain. It is still the most common cause of death in infants in developed countries.
In this latest research, experts looked at the records of 214,000 women who gave birth in Scotland between 1991 and 2001, of whom 114 suffered cot deaths, reports BBC News.
According to the Scotsman, during the study of birth records, scientists found babies may have been deprived of oxygen or nutrients before birth, impeding the development of the brain functions controlling the heart and lungs.
Dr Richard Wilson, consultant paediatrician and FSID trustee said: "This is excellent research. The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths will continue to fund research on avoidable risk factors for Sids."
"It’s crucial that all parents follow the proven advice to reduce the risk of cot death by sleeping babies on the back."
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