People that are struggling to conceive want to discover the source of their fertility issues. There are many factors that can impact fertility. One characteristic that can affect fertility is weight. Being either underweight or overweight can affect fertility and make it more difficult to become pregnant.
Depending on what our tests find, we recommend treatments and lifestyle changes to improve fertility in overweight patients and give them a greater chance of becoming a parent.
Before going into the ways that weight can impact fertility, let us clarify that being overweight does not necessarily mean that a woman will not be able to get pregnant naturally. There are many women, both substantially underweight and significantly overweight, who are able to get pregnant without any issues. However, it is important to acknowledge that, statistically speaking, individuals who are overweight (or underweight) are more likely to experience fertility problems.
When a woman is overweight or considered medically obese, she is more likely to experience irregular periods and other ovulation problems. This is most likely because women with higher percentages of body fat tend to have increased estrogen levels, which can interfere with ovulation. If a woman is not ovulating regularly and does not have a predictable menstrual cycle, it will obviously make it much more difficult to conceive.
Even if overweight women have regular periods, they may still experience difficulty becoming pregnant. There are many medical issues related to obesity that can also have an impact on fertility. If a woman suffers from thyroid disease, diabetes, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), she may struggle to conceive.
Again, being overweight can affect fertility but does not guarantee that a woman will have a hard time becoming pregnant. But if a woman is considering becoming a parent and would like to know if her weight may make things more difficult, the best way to predict whether weight will be a factor is to calculate the body mass index or BMI.
BMI considers a person’s weight in relation to height. A healthy BMI range is between 19 and 24. A BMI between 25 and 29 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 30 is considered obese, while a BMI below 19 is considered underweight. If someone has a BMI outside of the healthy range, they may experience issues with fertility, but it is most likely in individuals with a BMI below 19, or those with a BMI of 30 or above.
There are many ways to address fertility issues related to weight, weight loss being one of them. Adopting a healthier, more nutritious diet, and a more active lifestyle can be beneficial to anyone. In some cases, weight loss may be enough to improve a person’s fertility, but that will depend on other health issues.
A thorough fertility screening is the best way for us to diagnose the cause of infertility and offer our Scottsdale patients effective solutions. Besides suggesting lifestyle changes, we may recommend fertility treatments to further improve a patient’s chances of conceiving. Possible overweight and fertility treatments include ovarian stimulation, IUI, and IVF.
If you believe that weight is impacting your ability to conceive, it is time to consider scheduling a fertility evaluation. The fertility specialists at Arizona Associates of Reproductive Health offer a comprehensive range of tests and services to diagnose and treat overweight and fertility issues. To find out how we can help you on your journey to parenthood, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call (480) 860-4792.