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Unhealthy lifestyles ‘have no effect on time to conceive’

Smoking, drinking alcohol, vitamin use and physical activity do not have a significant influence on the time it takes a fertile couple to conceive, finds a Dutch study.

Researchers analysed questionnaire data from the Groningen Expert Center for Kids with Obesity Drenthe study. Responses from 1,924 couples who had a planned pregnancy without use of fertility treatment were included.

Univariable Cox regression analysis found parental BMI, smoking, alcohol consumption, vitamin use and physical activity did not have a significant impact on time taken to conceive.  

In contrast, a multivariable Cox regression analysis found several non-modifiable maternal socio-demographic factors predicted fecundity.

Chances of getting pregnant were 25% lower for mothers with low levels of education, and 19% lower for those of medium education, than for highly educated mothers.

Study author Dr Annemieke Hoek, a gynaecologist at Groningen University Medical Center said: ‘We do not expect fertile couples with a lifestyle characterised by moderate smoking and drinking will have a shorter time to pregnancy if they optimise their lifestyle.'

Human reproduction 2011 online 19 December