Female ponderal index at birth and idiopathic infertility

J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2020 Apr;11(2):154-158. doi: 10.1017/S2040174419000394. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an increased risk of developing non-transmittable diseases in adults subjected to adverse early developmental conditions. Metabolic and cardiovascular diseases have been the focus of most studies. Nevertheless, data from animal models also suggest early programming of fertility. In humans, it is difficult to assess the impact of the in utero environment retrospectively. Birthweight is commonly used as an indirect indicator of intrauterine development. This research is part of the ALIFERT study. We investigated a potential link between ponderal index at birth and female fertility in adulthood. Data from 51 infertile and 74 fertile women were analysed. BW was on average higher in infertile women, whereas birth length did not differ between the two groups; thus, resulting in a significantly higher ponderal index at birth in infertile women. Ponderal index at birth has been identified as a risk factor for infertility. These results suggest the importance of the intra-uterine environment, not only for long-term metabolic health but also for fertility.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01093378.

Keywords: birthweight; female fertility; female infertility; ponderal index.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Fetal Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Fetal Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Nutrition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology*
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference / physiology
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • EudraCT/2009-A00256-51
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01093378