A new study has shown that underweight and overweight women have a significantly higher risk of experiencing recurrent miscarriages compared to those of average weight.
A research team led by the University of Southampton assessed the link between women’s lifestyle and risk of recurrent miscarriage, defined as women having two or more consecutive early miscarriages. The systematic review and meta-analysis study was published in the journal Scientific reports.
Miscarriage is the most common complication of early pregnancy, affecting 15-20% of all pregnancies. Recurrent miscarriages are a complex condition and although often attributed to many medical factors and lifestyle influences, the cause is considered “unexplained” in about 50% of cases.
The results of this latest study revealed that there are more cases of successive miscarriages in mothers who are underweight (with a body mass index below 18.5), overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 30) and obese (having a BMI over 30). .
The study’s first author, Dr Bonnie Ng, MRC Fellow in Clinical and Experimental Sciences at the University of Southampton, said: “Our study included sixteen studies and showed that being underweight or overweight significantly increased risk of two consecutive pregnancy losses. For people with a BMI over 25 and 30, their risk of having another miscarriage increases by 20% and 70% respectively ”.
The research team also set out to assess the impact of factors such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption. However, they were not able to conclusively establish whether these are having an impact or not due to inconsistencies in the results of a small number of studies and heterogeneity among the women who participate. .
Co-author Dr George Cherian, obstetrics and gynecology intern at Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, said: ‘Although our study found no association between recurrent miscarriages and parameters lifestyle such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption, further large-scale studies are needed to clarify this ”.
While acknowledging that more observational and clinical research is needed to establish the full range of lifestyle choices, the authors conclude that weight is a risk factor that can be modified to reduce risk.
“ Our results suggest that an abnormal BMI exacerbates a woman’s risk of having repeated miscarriages, so clinicians really need to focus on helping women manage this risk factor, ” Ying Cheong concluded. , professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Southampton and senior author. paper.
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