Women Born Small May Be at Risk of Infertility
on May 09, 2014
by Monica Scott, BS, RN
Women born with LBW (low birth weight) or SGA (small for gestational age) seem to suffer an increased risk of infertility due to a female factor.
It’s something we haven’t heard of before, in a world where all sorts of things are considered a fertility risk. Researchers now think that women who are born small may be at a greater risk for infertility than women who were a normal size at birth. The study, done by Swedish researchers, was published online in the journal BMJ Open on March 10. The study followed 1,200 Swedish women who were born after 1973 and were seeking fertility treatments between 2005 and 2010.
“Women born with LBW (low birth weight) or SGA (small for gestational age) seem to suffer an increased risk of infertility due to a female factor,”
Dr. Josefin Vikstrom from Linköping University in Sweden said.
“Thus, infants born with birth characteristics that deviate from the norm may be at greater risk of difficulties in childbearing later on in life.”
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The results of the study showed that women who were born underweight were 2.5 times more likely to have fertility issues. While this study did show a direct correlation between infertility and size at birth, it was not able to show a cause-and-effect of the issue. There is still much research that needs to be done on the topic, since it is a very important one. This is one of the first studies that shows that birth weight may affect women MUCH later on down the line, when it is time for them to have children. It is definitely something that scientists and researchers are going to be looking into. Look for more research to come from this,and for more studies to come about in the near future.
One potential hypothesis is that when there is growth restriction in the womb, it might adversely affect the female reproductive organs that are developing during that time. This is such an important discovery, because it shows that we need to work on preventing low birth weight in babies and premature delivery, since there is now evidence that there are problems from these issues that pop up years down the road. Researchers have long known that premature birth and low birth weight can cause trouble for newborns, but now, we are starting to see that those effects can also be present on down the line as well. If doctors and scientists could find a way to do away with low birth weight and small for gestational age issues, we could likely see a huge decrease in cases of infertility, wouldn’t that be great?
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Ms. Scott joined ConceiveEasy after working in prenatal obstetrical care for two years in a private practice before being promoted to Director of Nursing. She has a strong interest in women's health with an emphasis on promoting fertility awareness.