Is there a link between asthma and infertility?

March 2, 2016

A small Danish study examines if a link exists between asthma and infertility. Plus: Can regular exercise during pregnancy prevent maternal hypertension?

Researchers from Denmark say that the results of their small observational study point to a possible link between asthma and infertility. Writing in The European Respiratory Journal, they caution, however, that the data do not establish a causal relationship.

The goal of the observational cohort study, performed on a prospective basis, was to look at whether time to pregnancy and number of successful pregnancies differed significantly in women with unexplained infertility who did and did not have asthma. A total of 245 women aged 23 to 45 completed questionnaires and underwent allergy testing, 96 of whom had previously been diagnosed with asthma or were diagnosed with the condition during this research. All of the participants were followed during at least 12 months of fertility treatment and until they had a successful pregnancy, stopped treatment, or the observation ended.

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The investigators found that likelihood of achieving pregnancy was lower in the women with asthma: median total time to pregnancy 55.6 months versus 32.3 months in women without asthma (hazard ratio 0.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.34-0.75, P<0.001). Women with asthma also had fewer successful pregnancies during fertility treatment (39.6 versus 60.4%, P=0.002). Increasing age was of negative importance for expected time to pregnancy, especially in the women with asthma (interaction between age and asthma with time to pregnancy P=0.001). Increasing age reduced the likelihood of conceiving, especially in the women with asthma. 

NEXT: Can prenatal exercise help prevent maternal hypertension?

 

Can prenatal exercise help prevent maternal hypertension?

Results of a large randomized trial are shedding new light on the impact of prenatal exercise on both mothers and their offspring. Published in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the findings suggest that regular exercise in pregnancy may reduce a woman’s risk of gestational hypertension and her fetus’s risk of being macrosomic.

For the research, the authors randomized 765 pregnant women to either exercise (n=382) or standard care (383). Exercise consisted of 3 50- to 55-minute sessions of aerobic, muscular strength, and flexibility training per week starting at 9 to 11 weeks of pregnancy and lasting until weeks 38 to 39.

Next: Obstetric history and CVD risk

Attendance in the exercise program, the authors said, was high but the women who did not exercise were 3 times more likely to develop hypertension (odds ratio [OR] 2.96; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29-6.81, P=.01) and 1.5 times more likely to gain excessive weight (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.06-2.03m P=.02).

Not exercising was also associated with a 2.5 times higher risk of giving birth to a macrosomic infant (OR 2.35; 95% CI 1.03-6.20, P=.04)