Background: Recent studies have shown that both female and male obesity may delay time-to-pregnancy (TTP). Little is known about central adiposity or weight gain and fecundability in women.
Methods: We examined the association between anthropometric factors and TTP among 1651 Danish women participating in an internet-based prospective cohort study of pregnancy planners (2007-2008). We categorized body mass index (BMI = kg/m(2)) as underweight (<20), normal weight (20-24), overweight (25-29), obese (30-34) and very obese (> or =35). We used discrete-time Cox regression to estimate fecundability ratios (FRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), controlling for potential confounders.
Results: We found longer TTPs for overweight (FR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.70-1.00), obese (FR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.58-0.97), and very obese (FR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.42-0.88) women, compared with normal weight women. After further control for waist circumference, FRs for overweight, obese, and very obese women were 0.72 (95% CI = 0.58-0.90), 0.60 (95% CI = 0.42-0.85) and 0.48 (95% CI = 0.31-0.74), respectively. Underweight was associated with reduced fecundability among nulliparous women (FR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.63-1.06) and increased fecundability among parous women (FR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.08-2.39). Male BMI was not materially associated with TTP after control for female BMI. Compared with women who maintained a stable weight since age 17 (-5 to 4 kg), women who gained > or =15 kg had longer TTPs (FR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.59-0.88) after adjustment for BMI at age 17. Associations of waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio with TTP depended on adjustment for female BMI: null associations were observed before adjustment for BMI and weakly positive associations were observed after adjustment for BMI.
Conclusions: Our results confirm previous studies showing reduced fertility in overweight and obese women. The association between underweight and fecundability varied by parity.