Maternal pre-pregnancy overweight and infertility in sons and daughters: A cohort study

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  • Linn H. Arendt
  • Birgit B. Høyer
  • Anne F. Kreilgaard
  • Bodil H. Bech
  • Gunnar Toft
  • Hougaard, Karin Sørig
  • Jens P. Bonde
  • Jørn Olsen
  • Cecilia H. Ramlau-Hansen

Introduction: Overweight and obesity in pregnancy is increasing worldwide and may harm the developing fetus, including its future reproductive health. We therefore studied the association between in utero exposure to maternal overweight and obesity and infertility in adulthood. No studies have previously assessed this association. Material and methods: We performed a cohort study with 9232 adult sons and daughters whose mothers were enrolled in the Danish Healthy Habits for Two cohort during pregnancy in 1984-87. Participants were sons and daughters followed in the Danish In-Vitro-Fertilization-Register and Danish National Patient Register until February 2018 for diagnoses of infertility. Results: In total, 1203 (13%) sons and daughters were born to mothers with a body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; 871 (9.4%) of the participants were identified as being infertile during follow up. Sons of overweight mothers had slightly increased odds of infertility compared with sons of mothers with normal body weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2, adjusted odds ratio 1.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-1.9). Cubic spline analyses with continuous BMI levels showed increasing odds with higher levels of BMI; however, for BMI >29 kg/m2 the confidence intervals were too wide to draw conclusions. No association between maternal overweight and infertility was found among daughters (adjusted odds ratio 0.9, 95% CI 0.7-1.2)). Conclusions: Sons born to overweight mothers had higher odds of infertility compared with sons of normal weight mothers. No association between maternal overweight and infertility was observed in daughters. Prevention of overweight during pregnancy may be an important tool to preserve fecundity in future generations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)843-849
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • cohort study, infertility, male offspring, maternal overweight, pregnancy, prenatal exposure delayed effect, reproductive health

ID: 255310127