On Weight and Fertility

Have you ever wondered about the effect of weight on your fertility? Maintaining a reasonable weight has an important impact on your chances to conceive and deliver a healthy baby. In medicine we commonly use Body Mass Index (BMI) to measure a person’s body fat composition based on weight and height. A normal, or healthy, weight range is a BMI of 18.5 to 25. Overweight: 25-30. Moderately obese: 30-35. Severely obese: 35-40. Very severely obese: over 40. There are many BMI calculators on the web that can help you to calculate your BMI. A popular one is https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm.

Obesity can cause you to have difficulties with ovulation that can result in irregular menstrual cycles and decreased fertility. There are significant negative complications in pregnancy as well. An obese pregnant woman is more likely to experience diabetes during pregnancy, elevated blood pressures, bleeding after delivery and an increased chance for delivery by C-section.

In regards to fertility cycles in which ovulation induction medications are used, obese women require higher doses which can rapidly increase cost. Even when considering in vitro fertilization (IVF), increased weight has a negative impact. A large study from Boston showed that patients with a BMI greater than 30 had a significantly decreased rate of clinical pregnancy and live birth.

Even when egg quality is not an issue, obesity can lower the chance of embryo implantation. In a study from Spain, obese women receiving donor eggs in an IVF cycle had significantly decreased live birth rates compared to normal weight women.

At IVFMD we understand that trying to lose weight can be a difficult challenge. While we prefer that our patients maintain a normal BMI, we also consider other factors such as increasing female age in our decision making. A healthy weight loss plan requires extended time that may not be available to some patients- in these cases, a referral to a nutritionist or a clinic that specializes in medically supervised weight loss may be necessary.

Author
Sy Le, M.D. Dr. Le is the founder of IVFMD and has aspired from day one to make leading edge fertility treatment as affordable as possible. He has special interest in all aspects of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, especially IVF protocols for women with low ovarian reserve.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Is the Best Time of Month to Get Pregnant?

When you’re trying to get pregnant, timing is everything. There’s actually a very small window each month when you’re fertile and able to conceive. Here’s what you need to know about ovulation, sex, and fertilization.

Who Should Freeze Their Eggs?

More and more women are freezing their eggs these days for various reasons. Find out why they’re doing it, and learn if it’s right for you.

Myths and Facts About IVF

If you’re facing infertility, you have enough to deal with without worrying about what’s true and what’s not. Here’s a clear and honest look at IVF, so you can focus on what’s right for you.

Tips for Men Trying to Improve Their Fertility

If you’re having trouble getting your partner pregnant, there’s a 50-50 chance the problem is on your side of the bed. Fortunately, many cases of male infertility can be addressed with simple lifestyle changes. Here are some things to try.

Does Endometriosis Impact Fertility?

Pain, heavy periods, and uncomfortable sex are some of the classic signs of endometriosis, but is infertility one of them, too? Find out how this chronic condition may affect your ability to conceive.