Fertility and pregnancy

Overweight women miscarriage risk

Overweight women miscarriage risk Risk doubles after IVF

Overweight women undergoing IVF are twice as likely to miscarry than women in the normal weight range, fertility experts have said.

And overweight women considering in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) should be offered counselling before they undertake either of the procedures, they also warned.

It's already known that being overweight when pregnant is linked to high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, diabetes, premature delivery and post-partum bleeding in women who conceive naturally, but less is known about it's effects on women undertaking IVF or ICSI.

The researchers analysed the medical records of 318 women undergoing fertility treatment between January 2006 and December 2009. Each had a single embryo transplanted.

The women were divided into two groups according to their body mass index (BMI) at the start of their treatment cycle.

One group of 185 women had BMI in the normal range, from 18.5-24.9.

The other group was made up of those who had a BMI of 25 or above. Of these 19 were obese, defined as having a BMI of 30 or more.

Overall, 26 per cent of women miscarried before 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the miscarriage rate was significantly lower in women with normal weight (22%) compared to women who were overweight (33%).

After taking into account other factors that might affect the results such as age, duration of infertility, smoking and a history of previous miscarriage, the study showed that being overweight or obese more than doubled the risk of miscarriage after fertility treatment.

“Overweight women wishing to get pregnant by spontaneous conception are already counselled to lose weight before trying for a baby,” said Dr. Tarek El-Toukhy, Consultant in Reproductive Medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, who led the study.

“Our findings have shown clearly that women undertaking ART (assisted reproductive tecnology) should be strongly encouraged to heed this advice in order that they can have the best possible chance of obtaining and maintaining a pregnancy.”

The findings were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome.

This article was published on Tue 29 June 2010

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