Obesity and Infertility: How Your Weight Affects Conception


Obesity and Infertility: How Your Weight Affects Conception

Are you overweight and having trouble with conception? In addition to certain disorders, drug and alcohol use, and environmental causes, another possible cause of infertility  is obesity. Many studies have found that obesity and infertility are linked in both men and women.

One study found that women with severe obesity were 43% less likely to conceive than those of average weight or just overweight. Women can experience the following effects due to obesity:

Increased incidence of miscarriage: Obese mothers have a 67% increased incidence of miscarriage over women of normal weight. Obesity also more than doubles the risk of a stillbirth or death in utero. Even overweight mothers have more risk of miscarriage; their risk is increased by 29%.

Irregular periods: Just like being underweight, being overweight can cause irregular menstrual cycles. Irregular cycles can cause ovulation problems, and even prevent ovulation entirely.

Less success with fertility treatments: Women who are obese need higher doses of infertility drugs. They also have less success with the treatments overall.

Male fertility can be affected by obesity in the following ways:

Decreased testosterone and increased estrogen production: This affects sperm production and motility and fertility as a result

Increased testicular heat: Just like hormone level imbalance, this is also a cause of decreased sperm production and motility. Increased heat to the testicles being affected this way is the reason men are cautioned not to sit laptops directly in their laps.

Negative effect on sperm DNA: Obesity can actually have an effect on the DNA integrity of sperm. Not surprisingly, defective sperm can result in infertility problems.

If you and your spouse are both overweight, your chances of conceiving are drastically reduced. Look for medical causes of your obesity. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility in women. It causes a hormone imbalance that inhibits ovulation and it can also cause obesity.

Start thinking about your diet and what you should eat while trying to conceive. Include some easy, healthy recipes in your weekly menu plan.

Consider working out with your spouse! If the local gym doesn’t excite you, do something simple such as a daily walk or join a ballroom dance class together. You can strengthen your relationship while dropping some pounds and making way for baby!

Are you having trouble with obesity AND infertility? Did you or your spouse drop the pounds successfully and conceive? Share your stories in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “Obesity and Infertility: How Your Weight Affects Conception”

  1. We suffered two miscarriages our first year married, and our Serenity was born right after our fifth anniversary. We lost another baby when Serenity was a little over a year old, and have not been able to conceive since then; she’ll be three next month.

    I lost almost 40lbs the five months prior to conceiving my daughter; I’m certain that, combined with dropping all caffeine and most sugar, is what helped me bring her to term, after conceiving at all. With a childhood of abuse behind me, I struggle with hormonal fluctuation anyway, because of PTSD and adrenal fatigue, so that combined with my weight problems creates a hostile environment for successful fertility.

    I’m finally at a place in my life where I’m taking charge of some things that have held me prisoner for a long time, both in my body and in my emotional well being. I’m hopefully that doing so will help me finally lose weight and be more fit and healthier and happier – and hopefully have another child.

  2. I have struggled with my weight for more than 25 years. I am considered to be obese by the AMA guidelines and have had 3 miscarriages. This is a sad and controllable issue which I figured out a bit too late.

  3. I have a relative that is obese and is struggling to stay pregnant once she conceives. It’s heartbreaking I hope she can take the necessary steps to help her achieve her dream!

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