Pregnancy Loss May Be a Higher Due to Dad's Poor Health

prenatal health Dec 20, 2020

Pregnancy Loss May Be a Higher Risk if Dad-to-be is in Poor Health

A recent study by Stanford University found that Dads-to-be who are in poor health have been linked to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies and pregnancy loss.

The study involved researchers looing at nearly one million pregnancies in the United States conceived between 2009 and 2016. What they did was to assess the health of the father-to-be for each.

At PregActive, we are all about helping the mother to do what she can within her control to enjoy a safe, fit and healthy pregnancy along with a speedier recovery.

But we know that nature doesn't always work out the way we want it to. Pregnancy loss is a traumatic experience often compounded of not knowing why it occurred.

While your health is important, so is that of your male partner. Studies have shown that male infertility problems can be attributed to man's poor health. And now, this study also show that the man's health may also play a role in the pregnancy outcome.

What Did the Study Find?

The study published in the Human Reproduction journal, found pregnancies where fathers had three or more medical conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity, or high blood pressure, as well as poor general health, were at higher risk of loss.

Of these, more than a quarter of pregnancies were found to be linked to ectopic, miscarriage or stillbirth.

Whet they compared dads-to-be in poor health against those who did not have any metabolic syndromes, they found the risk was increased by:

  1. 10 per cent for men with one syndrome
  2. 15 per cent for two
  3. 19 per cent for three or more.

Father's Health and Relationship to Pregnancy Loss

The father's age was also found to be a contributing factor.

Professor Michael Eisenberg said it showed the health of a pregnancy was not only tied to maternal health.

"It's been known for some time that the health of mothers has an impact on the developing foetus and events at the time of birth," he said.

"This is the first study to suggest 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 17 per cent in couples where the father had no components of the metabolic syndrome but increased to 21 per cent in couples where the father has one metabolic syndrome component, 23 per cent where he has two, and 27 per cent where he has three or more."

Eisenberg continued to say the study can't prove a dad-to-be's poor health caused pregnancy loss, it did show a link.

"We hypothesise that the father's health and lifestyle could adversely affect the genetic make-up and expression in the sperm, and that this may alter how well the placenta functions," he continued.

"If the placenta isn't working properly then this could lead to the pregnancy losses that we observed; for instance, we know already that paternal smoking and diet can affect sperm quality."

Researchers said more studies are required to better understand the possible associations.

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