Scientists at the University of Calgary have found a link between high density of fracking operationsin the oil and gas industry and adverse birth outcomes.

The first study the University of Calgary team has published in this research area suggests moms were more likely to deliver a pre-term baby if they lived within 10 kilometres of a fracking site.

The researchers looked at women in rural areas who live close to hydraulic fracturing sites.

“There is very little research about fracking as it relates to the health of pregnant people and children living near these sites," said Amy Metcalfe, co-principal investigator and associate professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, in a news release.

The expectant mothers living near one to 24 well sites had a seven per cent risk of pre-term delivery.           

Those living close to a hundred or more fracking sites had a 10 per cent risk of pre-term delivery.           

Alberta law requires fracking sites must be at least 100 metres away from residential development.