Feb 15

BMI & Infertility: What You Should Know

BMI & Infertility - San Antonio, TX

Posted on February 15, 2018 — by Joseph E. Martin, M.D., FACOG

There are several factors that can affect fertility, including body weight. When you are trying to conceive, certain lifestyle changes, including maintaining an optimal BMI (body mass index), can help you increase your chances of pregnancy and achieve your goals. Our team at the Fertility Center of San Antonio in San Antonio, TX, can speak with you about BMI and infertility during a consultation.

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Obesity and Fertility

We know that obesity can have a negative impact on overall health. It only makes sense that extra body weight can have a direct influence on fertility. For example:

  • Women who are overweight are less likely to become pregnant at all.
  • Those who are overweight are twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes, while those who are obese are eight times as likely.
  • Babies born to obese woman are more likely to struggle with obesity. They also have a higher risk for congenital abnormalities.
  • Women who are obese are twice as likely to have a miscarriage.

Women who have a BMI over 30 may improve their chances for pregnancy by losing weight. In some cases, weight loss can address disruption in the ovulation cycle. So if you are overweight and notice that your menstrual cycle is irregular, weight loss could regulate it. In turn, this could improve your chances for pregnancy.

Low BMI and Fertility

Many people assume that being overweight is the only BMI issue affecting pregnancy. On the contrary, being underweight can have a significant negative impact on fertility as well. In fact, compared to women of a healthy weight, those who are underweight are over twice as likely to take more than 12 months to conceive. This is primarily due to hormone imbalances that can directly affect ovulation. If you have a BMI under 18.5 and are having difficulties conceiving, you may want to consider healthy ways to gain weight.

Male Factor Infertility and BMI

Several patients are surprised to hear that BMI in men can also have a direct impact on fertility. Being overweight or underweight can lead to significant changes in the body. This can sometimes affect hormone regulation and sperm production, causing low sperm count or low motility.

What Normal BMI Can Do for Your Fertility

When your BMI is considered normal, you can expect a reduced risk of complications, not only for you, but for your baby as well. According to the Institute of Medicine, normal weight is indicated when the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. These couples respond better to fertility treatments when compared to those who are underweight or overweight.

Determining Your Personal Goals for Optimal Fertility

During a consultation at our practice, our doctors will perform a comprehensive assessment of your overall health and review your medical history with you in detail. If there are any concerns regarding fertility and BMI, we will discuss them with you and help to determine the appropriate next step. A well-balanced diet full of whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables is vital. It is also important to develop a moderate exercise routine. Concerning fertility, too much strenuous exercise can actually have the adverse effect. Our team can help design a diet and exercise regimen that is right for you.

Learn More about BMI and Infertility

If you think body weight may be a factor in your fertility struggles, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. We can help you learn more about BMI and infertility and design a personalized plan to help you conceive. Contact us using our  online form anytime.

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