Getting Pregnant and Fertility Problems: Overweight and Obesity
Being overweight can take a toll on your health and on your fertility, particularly on female fertility. Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 26 to 29, whereas obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 and higher. Individuals who are overweight or obese may endure difficulties trying to conceive. Read on to learn some reasons why women classified as overweight and obese tend to have lower pregnancy rates, more fertility problems , and a higher risks of complications during pregnancy .
How Excess Weight Puts the Fetus at Risk
Women who weigh more than the recommended weight for their height and age pose a risk to their developing fetus. This is because overweight pregnant women often have larger fetuses and more likely need a C-section to prevent a difficult delivery that may both injure the mother and baby.
Before delivery, overweight moms-to-be are at a higher risk of developing diabetes - known as gestational diabetes - during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is associated with metabolic problems in the fetus, such as low blood sugar and jaundice. As well as, the fetus of overweight mothers may experience excessive growth, which often leads to difficulties during labor.
Heavy women also tend to be less active, and more susceptible to developing deep venous thrombosis or DVT in their legs due too poor circulation which forms blood clots. Blood clots can cause life-threatening complications if left untreated, especially during pregnancy.
Overweight and Female Fertility
Before a woman even gets pregnant, the extra tens of pounds of weight may cause infertility. For instance, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition where cysts (fluid-filled sacs) form on the ovaries and disrupts the regular menstrual cycle, is commonly associated with overweight and obese women. As well as, fat tissue can produce an excess of estrogen. As a result, overweight and obese women may experience hormonal imbalance that can prevent ovulation.
Studies also show that heavier women experience lower chances of success when using assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Overweight women also have a higher cycle of cancellation rate when undergoing an IVF. This is why fertility doctors recommend overweight women to reduce weight before undergoing fertility treatments. Since excessive fat and body tissue makes egg retrieval more difficult because the ovaries are harder to access and the ultrasound pictures appear more blurred.
Most health care professionals recommend overweight women who are planning to get pregnant to lower their BMI by losing weight. However, losing weight rapidly before conception can lower your odds of conceiving and increase your risks of other pregnancy complications such as toxemia. So, the best thing to do is to cut down the weight at least six months before trying to conceive.
For weight loss and fitness ideas consider different exercises that compliment your busy lifestyle. It may be walking on your lunch breaks, signing up for a yoga class, doing Pilates or a relaxing swim after work. Consult your doctor for ways you can improve your fertility by changing your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.
For more information on weight, excerise and fertility check out our pregnancy videos.
Visit our forum and learn more about the causes of female infertility and get the support you need.