-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women who were very
small or underweight when they were born may be twice as likely to
have fertility problems as those who were normal size at birth, new
The study, published online March 10 in the journal
BMJ Open, included more than 1,200 women in Sweden who were
born in 1973 or later and sought fertility treatment with male
partners between 2005 and 2010.
Fertility problems were associated with the women in 38.5
percent of the cases, with their male partners in about 27 percent
of the cases and with both partners in just less than 7 percent,
according to a journal news release. The fertility problems were
unexplained in 28 percent of the cases.
Among women with fertility problems, slightly less than 4
percent had been born prematurely, a similar percentage were
underweight at birth and about 6 percent were very small at
The researchers concluded that women with fertility problems
were nearly 2.5 times more likely to have been underweight at
birth, compared to women in couples where the cause of infertility
was associated with the man or was unknown.
The findings held true even after the researchers accounted for
known risk factors for infertility in women, such as being
Although the study found an association between a woman's birth
size and infertility risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect
Further research is needed to confirm a link between infertility
and low birth weight or small birth size, study author Dr. Josefin
Vikstrom, with the faculty of health sciences at Sweden's Linkoping
University, and colleagues said.
Knowing about such an association is important, they said,
because improved medical care means a growing number of underweight
and very small babies survive into adulthood.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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