Study Explores Factors Linking to Uncomplicated Fertility, Pregnancy

The new study suggests individually targeted lifestyle changes may increase the likelihood nulliparous women will have no trouble conceiving and normal pregnancies.

Lucy C. Chappell, PhD, the clinical senior lecturer for the new study says that changes identified include normalizing maternal weight, eating more fruits before and during pregnancy and reducing blood pressure.

Chappell and her colleagues published their study in the November current issue of BMJ. Previous studies had found certain risk factors that made it hard for women to conceive and subsequently had adverse pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Chappell wrote: “Little is known of factors associated with subsequent healthy pregnancies, as most studies focus on what goes wrong in pregnancy.”

The researchers designed an observational cohort study called Screening for Pregnancy End Points, or SCOPE. over 5,600 women with singleton pregnancies were enrolled, from areas including New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. All pregnancies took play between 2004 and 2008.

They collected data on each patient including their socioeconomic status, family and medical history of obstetric complications and medical conditions and early pregnancy complications, as well as dietary information both before conception and during pregnancy.

Around 61.3 percent of the women had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Factors associated with reduced likelihood of healthy pregnancies were:

  • increased BMI

  • misuse of drugs (both illicit and OTC) during the first trimester

  • higher diastolic and systolic blood pressure

The researchers found that women who consumed fruit at least 3 times a day before their pregnancies were more likely to have an uncomplicated pregnancy.


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