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Preconception blood pressure and time to pregnancy among couples attempting to conceive their first pregnancy

      Background

      The association of abnormal blood pressure levels (including hypertension and prehypertension) with reduced fecundability among young childbearing-age couples is not yet elucidated completely.

      Objective

      The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between abnormal preconception blood pressure level and time to pregnancy among couples who are attempting to conceive their first pregnancy.

      Study Design

      A total of 2,234,350 eligible couples (with no previous gravidity and whose female partners were 20–49 years old) participated in the National Free Preconception Check-up Projects from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016. Each couples’ preconception blood pressure levels were measured, and time to pregnancy was recorded. Cox models for discrete survival time were used to estimate fecundability odds ratios and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals after adjustment for age, ethnicity, educational level, occupation, household registration, region, tobacco exposure, alcohol intake, body mass index, duration of marriage of the couples, and fasting plasma glucose levels of the female partner.

      Results

      Compared with normotensive women, those women with hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg) had a 21% lower pregnancy rate (fecundability odds ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.78–0.81). A similar finding was found among men (fecundability odds ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.88–0.90). Prehypertension (systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 mm Hg, and/or a diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 mm Hg) in both male and female partners was associated slightly with reduced fecundability odds ratios. Compared with couples in which both partners were normotensive, the pregnancy rate was reduced by 27% (fecundability odds ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval, 0.69–0.77) among couples in which both partners had hypertension.

      Conclusion

      Abnormal preconception blood pressure levels were associated with prolonged time to pregnancy among couples who were attempting to conceive their first pregnancy; the mechanism is worth further investigation.

      Key words

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