How Your Weight Impacts Fertility

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept.

One of the standard concerns among women facing infertility issues is how much their lifestyle can affect their chances of getting pregnant. Most physicians, in response, will tell you there are three primary lifestyle factors regarding pregnancy and infertility. These are 1) smoking, 2) alcohol consumption and 3) body weight.

Two major concerns arise with each of these environmental factors. The first concern is how smoking, alcohol or body weight affects the development of the fetus. When taking into account excessively overweight or underweight women, it can be said that all three factors – smoking, alcohol, and weight – can have very negative effects on fetus development. 

The other concern is the effect these factors have on the woman after the birth of their child. Certainly, long-term smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and unhealthy body weights are long term concerns after a child is born.

In this blog, we look at the third subject, assuming that the dangers of smoking and excessive use of alcohol are widely known. Weight issues, however, are very directly related to some infertility cases. A healthy weight is recommended for any woman who is trying to become pregnant.

Excessively thin women run the risk of malnutrition issues. Meanwhile, the woman’s body is focused first on staying alive and only second on becoming pregnant. As such, whenever the woman’s body is under intense stress brought on by malnutrition, menstruation and ovulation can both stop. Women who overdue physical activity in the extreme – professional athletes, marathon runners and the like – also risk halting their reproductive system. This is their body’s way of saying, let’s take care of first things first.

Of course, physical exercise to the point of running marathons might seem a bit extreme, but it takes only a 5 percent to 10 percent weight change to affect menstruation and ovulation. Since infertility is sometimes reversed by making only small changes, keeping yourself a healthy weight could be a larger contributor to increasing fertility than you realize.

Essential Nutrients

If malnutrition is the issue, then dietary supplements and following the recommendations of a nutritionist can usually solve the problem. While all micronutrients are critical to a degree, six are commonly listed as essential for pregnant women to ensure a healthy pregnancy. These are:

  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • DHA
  • Iron

These can all be found in dietary supplements that are frequently sold as prenatal vitamins. For proper doses, consult a nutritionist or your physician. DHA, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid, stands for docosahexaenoic acid. DHA for short.

Healthy Weight

Many other women are concerned with too much weight, which affects not only the chances of becoming pregnant but also the health of the developing fetus. In addition, to overall weight, the distribution of weight has been shown to correlate with infertility issues. Apple-shaped women have a higher risk of infertility.  This is the shape associated with belly fat. This body-type is also associated with greater risks for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke. 

Body Mass

A healthy body mass index is easy to calculate. You can calculate your BMI here. A healthy weight is one that is between 18.5 kg/m-squared and 24.9kg/m-squared. Obesity, meanwhile, is defined in several classes. These classes are:

  • Overweight (not obese) includes a BMI of 25 to 29
  • Class 1, slightly overweight: BMI of 30 to 34.9
  • Class 2 (moderate risks): BMI of 35 to 39.9
  • Class 3 (high risk): BMI of more than 40.

The Good News

The good news, certainly, includes the development of fertility treatments and strategies that can help achieve pregnancy from women (and men) who are finding it difficult to do so. Furthermore, losing weight or gaining weight, if that is necessary, is possible with proper diet and exercise.

Looking for the Best Fertility Clinic in Southern California?

Pacific Reproductive Center has four convenient locations throughout Southern California, making it easy for patients to receive quality care close to home. Each IVF fertility center has an on-site lab, next-generation services, and state-of-the-art equipment.

Whether in Glendale, Torrance, Irvine, or Corona, our world-class fertility doctors can help you build the family you’ve always wanted.

PRC Torrance
3720 Lomita Blvd, Suite 200 Torrance, CA 90505
PRC Glendale
116 E. Broadway, Suite 300 Glendale, CA 91205
PRC Irvine
10 Post Irvine, CA 92618
PRC Corona
381 Corporate Terrace Corona, CA 92879
CALL TODAY! 424-340-0871

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