Welcome back, by now you should have read all we have previously discussed on fertility (insert links). You are also probably wondering what the correlation between weight and fertility is. Hang on, we will delve in to it just about now.
HOW DOES WEIGHT AFFECT FERTILITY IN WOMEN?
Many underweight, overweight and obese women have no problem getting pregnant but some might have problems conceiving, most often due to ovulation problems (failure to release eggs from the ovaries).
Body mass index for women
Being underweight often causes irregular menstrual cycles and may cause ovulation to stop altogether. Underweight women should work with their doctor to understand the cause of this situation, and develop strategies to correct it. Obesity may lead to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation. However, obese women with normal cycles have a lower pregnancy rate than women with a normal weight, so ovulation is not the only issue. A visit to a health care professional before getting pregnant can help identify other disorders related to obesity that can impact pregnancy such as thyroid disease, insulin resistance and diabetes.
DOES OBESITY AFFECT THE CHANCE OF GETTING PREGNANT WITH TREATMENT AND HAVING A HEALTHY BABY?
There is good evidence that obesity lowers the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Studies have shown lower pregnancy rates in obese women; they are also at an increased risk for developing pregnancy induced (gestational) diabetes and high blood pressure (preeclampsia). Obese women have a higher chance of delivering their baby via Caesarean section. Children of obese mothers are at an increased risk of some birth defects and having a high birth weight.
IS OBESITY A FACTOR FOR MEN TOO?
Obesity in men may be associated with changes in testosterone levels and other hormones important for reproduction. Low sperm counts and low sperm motility (movement) have been found more often in overweight and obese men than in normal-weight men.
SHOULD I TRY TO LOSE WEIGHT IF I AM OBESE BEFORE TRYING TO GET PREGNANT?
You should first consult with a healthcare provider. He or she will consider all factors, including your age and any other infertility factors before making a recommendation about whether you should try to lose weight or not.
I HAVE POLYCYCSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS) AND I AM OVERWEIGHT, WILL I NEED TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT?
PCOS is a very common condition in young women. Not all women with PCOS are overweight or obese, but many women with PCOS have signs of insulin resistance and/or obesity. A low-calorie diet and exercise may lead to weight loss, regular menstrual cycles, and ovulation. However, women with PCOS may require additional treatment to get pregnant, including medications to decrease insulin resistance. These women should seek the assistance of an infertility specialist.