Obesity is a health condition that has been growing rapidly in our society. Our lifestyle changes and unhealthy food habits have increased the risk of overweight and obesity in both men and women.
You may wonder if your weight can affect your fertility. The answer is yes. Your weight, whether it is overweight or underweight, can affect your fertility and your chances of getting pregnant.
This is why most doctors recommend overweight patients to lose some weight before trying to get pregnant. In this article, we will look closely into how obesity affects fertility and what treatment options are available for overweight patients.
Fertility Treatment for Overweight
Obesity is one of the major factors affecting your fertility. It can cause ovulation problems and make it difficult for you to get pregnant. In such cases, your doctor might recommend you undergo assisted fertility treatments to help you get pregnant. Below are some fertility treatment options available for overweight women.
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
IUI Treatment is one of the most commonly performed fertility treatments. Here, the sperm is collected from the male partner and injected directly into the female partner’s uterus.
This method is preferred when you have no serious fertility issues and only need to make it easier for the sperm to meet the egg. This method can be considered when you don’t have a major fertility issue, and your partner’s sperm can’t reach the fallopian tubes for fertilization.
IVF (In vitro fertilization)
IVF is one of the most commonly preferred assisted reproductive techniques and has been proven to provide a successful pregnancy in couples who have fertility issues.
IVF is the answer to major infertility issues, and overweight is one of them. Yes, your chances of pregnancy increase if you choose to undergo IVF Treatment. But it doesn’t mean the procedure doesn’t have any complications.
The first issue is with egg retrieval. Since obesity causes anovulatory issues, the number of good-quality eggs retrieved will be low. This can affect the quality of the embryo.
The next issue is with embryo implantation and pregnancy. Overweight women have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy, like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, miscarriages, etc.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
ICSI is mostly preferred in cases of male-factor infertility. Obesity doesn’t affect only female fertility. Men’s fertility will also be affected by being overweight.
For men, obesity can affect their sperm count, motility, and morphology. This can make it difficult for the sperm to swim to the egg and fertilize it. In such cases, they can undergo ICSI, where a single, healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg’s cytoplasm for fertilization.
Does My Weight Affect My Fertility?
Yes, your weight, whether you are underweight, overweight, or obese, can affect your fertility. A healthy BMI ranges between 19 and 25. Any lower or higher than this level can affect your ability to get pregnant.
Being overweight or obese can also cause other health issues like heart disease, diabetes, etc. Getting pregnant in this condition will only increase the risks of complications that might become fatal for both you and your baby.
Overweight or underweight can also cause other issues like
- Hormonal imbalances,
- Ovulation problems,
- PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome),
- Problems with erection, etc.
If you manage to get pregnant despite being overweight, you have a high chance of having pregnancy complications like
- Gestational diabetes,
- High blood pressure,
- Stillbirth, etc.
BMI (Body Mass Index) is the measurement of your ideal weight based on your height. Below is the BMI range for each category.
- BMI less than 19 – underweight
- BMI between 19 and 25 – normal
- BMI between 25 and 29 – overweight
- BMI more than 30 – obese
When you visit a fertility doctor for fertility treatment, most doctors will recommend you decrease or increase your weight to stay as close to the normal BMI range. Only then will they start their fertility treatment.
Lifestyle's Impact on Obesity
Your lifestyle choices have a major impact on your health and fertility. Below are some poor lifestyle choices that have a major role in your obesity and infertility. You can try avoiding these factors to attain your health goal and have a healthy pregnancy.
Physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle prevent the body from burning excess calories and make fat deposit in the body. This can lead to various health issues and complications.
Regular moderate exercise with a healthy diet can improve your body and help improve overall health and well-being.
Inadequate sleep is another lifestyle factor that affects your health. A human needs an average of 6 to 7 hours of sleep a day to be healthy and give the brain the rest it needs to be active the next day.
Inadequate sleep and staying up late at night can alter your body clock and affect your metabolism. So, a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle.
This is one of the major factors that affect your body’s overall health. Having too much oily, processed, or junk foods can cause digestive problems and lead to obesity.
Maintaining a proper diet with all the essential nutrients can help you get all the energy you need to function for the day.
Smoking & alcohol
Smoking, alcohol, and drugs are some of the worst lifestyle habits that affect your health and fertility. Doctors usually recommend patients abstain from these habits for at least three months before starting the fertility treatments.
Your weight plays a significant role in determining the success rate of your fertility treatment. Maintaining a healthy BMI and following a healthy lifestyle is crucial if you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
It is best to visit a fertility doctor and check your fertility condition if you are overweight and unable to get pregnant for some time. Understand you condition and undergo the necessary treatments before trying for pregnancy again.
Most doctors recommend their patients attain an optimal BMI range between 19 and 25 before undergoing fertility treatments. This is to avoid complications during pregnancy and ensure the health of the mother and child. It is best to consult your doctor and understand their weight requirements before starting the treatments.
Women with fertility problems require high levels of hormone injections to stimulate the egg follicles. They may not be able to produce that many eggs and their eggs will also be of low quality. This can make it difficult for them to get pregnant.
Yes, losing weight before IVF has shown a significant increase in success rate for overweight women. This is why doctors recommend overweight women lose weight before starting their IVF treatments.
An unhealthy lifestyle can cause metabolic abnormalities, joint and bone problems, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, obesity, and many other problems. The relationship between lifestyle and health must be thoroughly investigated.