Sexual Health

Overweight men need to become match fit if they want to be fathers

Overweight men have been warned they need to become ‘match fit’ if they want to be fathers, as a fertility study claims too much attention has been focused on mothers’ weight.Overweight men need to become match fit if they want to be fathersScientists studying the impact obesity has on pregnancy are urging men to get ‘in shape’ before conceiving to assist with foetal development.

While the health risks surrounding obesity and pregnancy have largely been centred on overweight mothers, the onus is now on men to lose weight.

Less efficient sperm results in smaller foetuses, poor pregnancy success and reduced placental development.

The discovery was made by reproductive experts from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

World Health Organisation figures show that a staggering 48 per cent of adult males are overweight or obese – making the findings even more of a worry.

The research was conducted by Professor David Gardner, Dr Natalie Hannan and PhD student Natalie Binder.

Prof Gardner, Head of the Department of Zoology, said: “A lot of men don’t understand they need to be healthy before conceiving. Sperm needs to be ‘match fit’ for the games of life and creating life is the biggest thing that we can do.”

The study used IVF to determine the effects of paternal obesity on embryo implantation into the womb and foetal development.

PhD candidate Natalie Binder generated embryos from both normal weight and obese male mice.

She said: “We found development was delayed in the foetuses produced from obese fathers.  Furthermore, placental weight and development was significantly less for embryos derived from the sperm of obese males.

These findings indicate that paternal obesity not only negatively affects embryo development, but also impacts on the successful implantation into the womb.

“This then results in a small placenta which impairs fetal growth and development with long term consequences for the health of the offspring. Our study provides more information about the impact of obesity in men and their ability to start a family and the need to shed kilos in preparation to conceive.”

The findings were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012.


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Infection following a caesarean is more likely if you are obese new research finds

Obese women increase their risk of a surgical wound infection following a caesarean section finds new research.Infection following a caesarean is more likely if you are obese new research findsThe proportion of births delivered by caesarean section in England has risen substantially over the past 30 years from 9% in 1980 to 25% in 2009-10.

This new study estimates that one in ten women develop a post-surgical infection following the procedure, with between 1.2 and 5% of women developing the infection during their inpatient stay.

A total of 4107 operations were included in this study and women were followed up during their inpatient stay, on readmission to hospital, on day visits to hospital, by community midwives up to the last visit and through a self-completed questionnaire. The volunteers were from 14 hospitals already participating in the Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Scheme.

The average age of the women was 31 years (range 14-56) and the average BMI was 25.3 (interdecile range 20.4-35.0).

In total 394 surgical site infections were identified from 4107 operations representing a risk of 9.6%. Of the 394 infections, 348 (88.3%) were superficial incisional affecting the skin and surface layers, 19 (4.8%) deep incisional (affecting deeper tissues) and 27 (6.9%) organ/space infections (affecting internal organs) including endometritis (infection of the womb lining) and reproductive tract infections.

After adjustment for other patient and operation risk factors, the study found that obesity and young age (under 20 years old) were associated with the development of an infection after a caesarean.

Obesity was strongly associated with development of a surgical site infection, with risk increasing with each successive category of BMI.

Compared to women with a normal BMI (18.5 to 25) overweight women (BMI 25-30) were found to have a 1.6 times greater risk of infection than normal weight women, and obese women (BMI more than 30) 2.4 times greater risk.

There was some evidence of an increased likelihood of infection in women aged less than 20 who had a 1.9 times greater risk compared to women 25-30 years following adjustment for other patient and operation risk factors.

Dr Catherine Wloch, Department of Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance, Health Protection Agency and lead author of the paper said:

“This study has identified high rates of surgical infection following a caesarean with one in ten women developing an infection. Whilst our study didn’t measure this, these infections are likely to have an impact on a woman’s experience and quality of life.

“Although most caesarean section wound infections are not serious, they do represent a substantial burden to the health system, given the high number of women undergoing this type of surgery. Minor infections can still result in pain and discomfort for the woman and may spread to affect deeper tissues. The more serious infections will require extended hospital stays or readmission to hospital.  Prevention of these infections should be a clinical and public health priority.”

John Thorp, BJOG Deputy-Editor-in-Chief added: “With the rise in numbers of women having a caesarean section and the rise in obesity rates, this issue is an important one. Post-surgical infection can seriously affect a woman’s quality of life at a critical time when she is recovering from an operation and has a new born baby to look after. More needs to be done to look into this and address ways of reducing infection.”


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