Lifestyle issues matter, at least when trying to conceive.
Couples who are both obese may have a harder time conceiving a child than couples who are both at a healthy weight, a team at the National Institutes of Health found. And obese couples struggle more with fertility than couples where only one person is obese.
Women who are too fat or too thin have long been told they may find it harder to conceive, but this new study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, shows the effect is far stronger when both the man and the woman are obese.
“Overall, obese couples were found to have approximately half the fecundability as couples with normal BMI,” Rajeshwari Sundaram of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and colleagues wrote. Fecundability is a calculation of how likely a couple is to conceive each menstrual cycle while trying for pregnancy.
“A lot of studies on fertility and body composition have focused on the female partner, but our findings underscore the importance of including both partners,” Sundaram said in a statement.
In the NIH study, 500 couples in Michigan and Texas agreed to be studied as they tried to conceive.
“Overall, 27 percent of women and 41 percent of men were found to be obese,” the team wrote
“Couples were followed daily for up to a year of trying,” the team added.
When the woman was overweight or obese, the couple typically took longer to conceive, the researchers found. But the effect was marked when both the man and the woman were more than a little obese – with a BMI of 35 or higher. They were 60 percent less fecund than slimmer couples.
The importance of this is not to bash people with weight issues but to point out that there are a number of lifestyle issues that may be correctable to help a couple conceive. One of the most obvious is smoking. For more information on this subject please visit our Lifestyle & Fertility pages which can link you to Dr. Meldrum’s lifechoices pages.