Obesity increases risk of miscarriage

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Obesity appears to increase the risk of miscarriage, according to a review study appearing in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

“Obesity has been described as the new worldwide epidemic, and as the (rate) of obesity increases, so does the number of women of reproductive age who are becoming overweight and obese,” Dr. Mostafa Metwally and colleagues from the University of Sheffield, UK, write.

The investigators conducted a review of articles published in medical journals over the last few decades to identify studies that compared normal-weight and overweight women who miscarried. The main outcome measure was pregnancy loss at less than 20 weeks.

Sixteen studies were included in the analysis. The findings showed that overweight and obese women were 67 percent more likely to have a miscarriage than normal weight women. The risk was even higher when the woman, but not their partner, required a fertility treatment.

“The current evidence suggests that obesity may indeed increase the risk of miscarriage, both in the general population and possibly after (fertility therapies),” Metwally and colleagues write. However, the evidence is not yet conclusive because of the differences between the currently available studies, and because of the paucity of studies in specific treatment categories.”

SOURCE: Fertility and Sterility, October 2008.


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