Do subfertile women adjust their habits when trying to conceive?

  • Lana Salih Joelsson Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; and Centre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, County Council of Västmanland, Västmanland County Hospital, Västerås, Sweden
  • Anna Berglund The National Centre for Knowledge of Men’s Violence against Women, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Kjell Wånggren Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; and Centre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, County Council of Västmanland, Västmanland County Hospital, Västerås, Sweden
  • Mikael Lood Department of Women’s Health, Fertility Unit, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden
  • Andreas Rosenblad Centre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, County Council of Västmanland, Västmanland County Hospital, Västerås, Sweden
  • Tanja Tydén Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Keywords: Alcohol consumption, assisted reproduction, diet, infertility, lifestyle, obesity, pregnancy, tobacco use

Abstract

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate lifestyle habits and lifestyle adjustments among subfertile women trying to conceive.

Materials and methods: Women (n = 747) were recruited consecutively at their first visit to fertility clinics in mid-Sweden. Participants completed a questionnaire. Data were analyzed using logistic regression, t tests, and chi-square tests.

Results: The response rate was 62% (n = 466). Mean duration of infertility was 1.9 years. During this time 13.2% used tobacco daily, 13.6% drank more than three cups of coffee per day, and 11.6% consumed more than two glasses of alcohol weekly. In this sample, 23.9% of the women were overweight (body mass index, BMI 25–29.9 kg/m2), and 12.5% were obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2). Obese women exercised more and changed to healthy diets more frequently than normal-weight women (odds ratio 7.43; 95% confidence interval 3.7–14.9). Six out of ten women (n = 266) took folic acid when they started trying to conceive, but 11% stopped taking folic acid after some time. Taking folic acid was associated with a higher level of education (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Among subfertile women, one-third were overweight or obese, and some had other lifestyle factors with known adverse effects on fertility such as use of tobacco. Overweight and obese women adjusted their habits but did not reduce their body mass index. Women of fertile age would benefit from preconception counseling, and the treatment of infertility should routinely offer interventions for lifestyle changes.

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Published
2016-05-23
How to Cite
Joelsson, L. S., Berglund, A., Wånggren, K., Lood, M., Rosenblad, A., & Tydén, T. (2016). Do subfertile women adjust their habits when trying to conceive?. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 121(3), 184–191. https://doi.org/10.1080/03009734.2016.1176094
Section
Original Articles

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