Learn more about the link between weight and fertility before trying to conceive
Human reproduction is a complex process, and many factors can cause infertility. Sometimes, a patient might have a condition that requires fertility treatment. In other cases, someone may only need to lose or gain weight to maximize their fertility. Our San Antonio infertility doctor has valuable information about the link between weight and fertility.
Understanding the basics of weight and fertility
Doctors often use a measurement called body mass index (BMI) to determine whether a patient has a healthy body weight for their height. The range for a healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI outside of this range can lead to problems conceiving. When it comes to weight and fertility, our San Antonio infertility doctor often sees the following issues.
- Overweight (BMI of 25.0 or more). It can be harder to become pregnant if a patient is overweight. Weight gain can cause fat cells to grow and make more estrogen. When this happens, the body reacts like the woman is taking hormonal birth control. This can cause issues with ovulation. As for men with a higher BMI, they are more likely to have a lower sperm count and poor sperm motility (movement).
- Underweight (BMI of 18.5 or less). Being underweight can also cause infertility in women and men. A woman with a low BMI may stop making estrogen, which can lead to irregular ovulation. In men, being underweight is associated with poor sperm health.
Being overweight can also cause issues with fertility treatment success and pregnancy complications. A woman with a high BMI is less likely to conceive using treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). She is more likely to have diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy. There is also a higher risk of C-section and health problems in her baby.
Women with a low BMI can also face issues during pregnancy. Being underweight means a woman is more likely to deliver her baby early or have a baby with a low birth weight (under 5.5 pounds).
Tips to improve BMI and enhance natural fertility
While there is a link between weight and fertility, patients can take control of their health and enhance their reproductive potential. When underweight patients gain weight, and overweight patients lose weight, it can improve or restore their fertility. Sometimes, a change of just five to 10 pounds is enough to help a woman start ovulating again.
Our San Antonio infertility doctor suggests achieving a healthy weight by exercising and eating a balanced and nutrient-filled diet. However, keep in mind that patients shouldn’t lose or gain weight too quickly. Moderation and a steady pace are key.