New study suggests link between pregnancy loss and health of fathers-to-be – fitness

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The findings of a new study propose that more than a quarter of pregnancies might be ectopic or end in miscarriage or stillbirth whether the father-to-be is unhealthy and has three or more medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol levels.

In a retrospective study of almost a million pregnancies between 2009 and 2016 in america, published today in the publication Human Reproduction, researchers found that whether the father was once diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which includes these medical conditions, there was once an increased risk of the mother losing the pregnancy.

In comparison to men who had not one of the components of metabolic syndrome, the risk of pregnancy loss increased by 10%, 15% and 19% respectively for men with one, two or three or more components.

Associate Professor Michael Eisenberg from Stanford University School of Medicine (California, USA), who led the research, said: “It’s been known for some time that the health of mothers has an affect on the developing foetus and events at the time of birth. This is the first study to propose that pregnancies sired by men with increasing numbers of medical conditions are at higher risk of ending in miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth.

“In the group of men we studied, the risk of losing the pregnancy was once 17% in couples where the father had no components of the metabolic syndrome but increased to 21% in couples where the father has one metabolic syndrome component, 23% where he has two, and 27% where he has three or more.

“While this study cannot prove that naughty paternal health is a cause of pregnancy loss, it shows there is an organization. The clinical implications of these findings are that pre-conception counselling must not overlook the father, as his health may have the most important affect on the pregnancy.”

The researchers analysed data from US insurance claims covering 958,804 pregnancies. In addition to metabolic syndrome, they gathered information on other medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression and heart disease. They also calculated the burden of chronic disease for all patients, which included age and medical history of problems such as heart failure, heart attack, diseases of the blood vessels, kidney and liver disease, cancer, stroke and dementia. They adjusted their calculations to take account of other factors that could impact pregnancy, in specific, the mother’s age, health, weight, and if or not the father or mother smoked.

A complete of 4.6% of men in the study were aged over 45 years and 23.3% had no less than one component of metabolic syndrome prior to conception. There were 785,809 live births and 172,995 pregnancies (22%) missing to ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth throughout the period of the study.

As expected, pregnancy losses increased with the mother’s age and the number of other medical conditions she had. Then again, the organization with the health of the father and pregnancy loss remained. The risk of losing a pregnancy also increased with the age of the father.

The mechanisms by which the father’s health might impact the risk of pregnancy loss isn’t known.

Prof Eisenberg said: “We hypothesise that the father’s health and way of life could adversely impact the genetic make-up and expression in the sperm, and that this may alter how polite the placenta functions. Whether the placenta isn’t working properly then this could lead to the pregnancy losses that we observed; as an example, we realize already that paternal smoking and diet can impact sperm quality.”

Limitations of the study include: potential lack of detail and accurate diagnoses inherent in obtaining information from insurance claims databases; pregnancy losses that did not result in a medical claim, as an example, early miscarriage, were not included in the database, even supposing the frequency of miscarriages, still births and ectopic pregnancies observed in the study were very similar to estimates for the general US population; as the findings include only privately insured and employed parents, the findings is probably not generalisable to other populations; information on important factors such as sociodemographic status, race and substance abuse, was once incomplete.

Prof Eisenberg concluded: “We now need confirmatory studies. Optimistically, paternal health may also be more integrated into future studies. Moreover, investigations that focus on the conceivable mechanisms will help to better understand the associations we found.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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