Overweight and obese women who take oral contraceptives are 60 percent to 70 percent more likely to get pregnant while on the birth-control pill, respectively, than women of lower weight, according to new findings from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that will be published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The study, led by epidemiologist Victoria Holt, Ph.D., M.P.H., a member of Fred Hutchinsons Public Health Sciences Division, is the largest case-control study of its kind to examine the link between body-mass index and oral-contraceptive failure. The research was conducted in collaboration with Delia Scholes, Ph.D., a senior investigator at the Center for Health Studies at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.
"The results of our study represent yet another reason why obesity is a health hazard," Holt said. "Overweight and obese women have a significantly higher risk of getting pregnant while on the pill than women of normal weight, and this translates into a substantial number of unplanned pregnancies." Among 100 women taking oral contraceptives for a year, Holts study suggests that an additional two to four women will get pregnant due to being overweight or obese. "This higher risk of pregnancy also translates into a higher number of obesity-related complications of pregnancy, which range from gestational diabetes and high blood pressure to Cesarean delivery," Holt said.
Kristen Woodward | EurekAlert!
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