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Obese Couples May Take Longer To Get Pregnant

Update Date: Feb 04, 2017 08:40 AM EST

A new study has found that couples in which both parents are obese may take 55 to 59 percent longer to conceive compared to non-obese couples. Researcher at the National Institute of Health published the study in the journal Human Reproduction.

Scientists, from NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development said the study is the first to look into fertility and body mass composition of both partners.

According to News Medical, 501 couples from Michigan and Texas from 2005 to 2009 participated in the study. Women ranged from 18 to 44-years-okd, and men were over 18-years-old. Women's monthly menstrual cycles, intercourse and results of home pregnancy tests were recorded on journals. Researchers followed the couples until pregnancy or up to one year of trying to conceive.

Researchers calculated body max index (BMI), categorized couples with obesity into two subgroups. Obese class I had a BMI from 30 to 34.9. Obese class II had the most obese with a BMI of 35 or greater.

They calculated the probability that a couple would achieve pregnancy by using the fecundability odds ratio (FOR) method. It measure the probability of pregnancy each menstrual cycle while trying to conceive, relative to their BMIs. They found the class II couples took much longer to get pregnant.

Couples in the non-obese group class I had a FOR of 1. Obese class II couples had a FOR of 0.45, it showed that they took 55 percent longer to achieve pregnancy. After taking into consideration other factors known to influence fertility such as age, smoking status, physical activity and cholesterol leverl, obese class II FOR dropped to 0.41, 59 percent longer time to achieve pregnancy. Researchers concluded that couples' obesity may reduce fertility chances.

International Business Times reported, senior author Rajeshwari Sundaram said "Our results also indicate that fertility specialists may want to consider couples' body compositions when counselling patients," recommend fertility specialists may want to take couples' weight status into account when counseling them about achieving pregnancy. Taking steps to lose weight may help reduce the time needed to conceive.

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