Our Mufreesboro fertility center explains the connection between weight and fertility
The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight are far reaching. In addition to decreasing your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, sleep apnea and arthritis, sustaining a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI) helps promote fertility.
The team of reproductive endocrinologists at our Nashville and Mufreesboro fertility center locations stresses that weight and fertility go hand-in-hand, and that while the bathroom scale is often viewed as the enemy, it’s actually an ally in helping you get pregnant.
Weight and fertility: underweight vs. overweight
Women who are both overweight and underweight experience a higher incidence of infertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) reports that obesity accounts for 6% of infertility, while low body weight in women accounts for 6% of infertility.
Not all women who are overweight or underweight have trouble conceiving; however, the primary cause is often due to the disruption of the delicate balance of hormones that influence ovulation and fertilization.
A BMI of 18.5 or less (considered underweight) can cause a drop in the production of estrogen, which leads to irregular menstrual cycles and may cause ovulation to stop.
An excess of fat cells in overweight and obese women can produce a steady stream of estrogen. This constant level of estrogen in the body suppresses other hormones, such as LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), which are needed to trigger ovulation.
Our Mufreesboro fertility center explains other complications caused by weight
In addition to affecting your ability to conceive, having a high BMI can cause other complications during pregnancy, such as miscarriage, gestational diabetes (pregnancy-induced diabetes) and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure). Evidence also shows that obesity lowers the IVF success rate.
What’s the ideal BMI?
BMI is the measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI between 19 and 24 is considered normal; less than 19 is considered underweight. A BMI between 25 and 29 is considered overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. There are many BMI calculators available online to help you determine yours.
What can I do to improve my BMI?
Stepping on a scale may be daunting, but the number staring at you reveals a lot about your fertility potential. Fortunately, more than 70% of women who are infertile as a result of their body weight being too high or too low will conceive naturally by bringing their weight to a normal level.
As part of your evaluation, our Nashville and Mufreesboro fertility center physicians will discuss the impact of weight and fertility to better prepare you for the journey ahead. Contact us to learn more.