Weight for Your Fertility

How Does Weight Affect Fertility?

How Does Weight Affect Fertility?

An extreme in weight, either too thin or too heavy, can adversely affect reproductive health. Patients often ask, “How does weight affect fertility? or “What is the ideal weight to increase pregnancy chances?” Our governing body, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, has recommended that women achieve a body mass index (BMI;; kg/m2 ) of < 35 prior to pregnancy. These recommendations come from extensive studies of risk and reported complications to be known and associated with pregnancy.

The Effects of Obesity on Fertility

Elevated BMIs are associated with increased anesthesia risks and pregnancy-related medical problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. These inflammatory conditions are known to affect the embryo at implantation, fetal growth, and the matrix in which this born child will manage metabolic issues as an adult.

There is also a difference in IVF stimulation. Women with elevated BMIs tend to require more stimulatory medications as the medication is distributed over the weight range. It is more difficult to assess follicular growth as ovaries may appear farther from the ultrasound probes on assessment. Retrievals tend to garner fewer eggs than age-matched controls.

Although infrequent, anesthesia complications do exist – inclusive of oxygen desaturation requiring additional airway maintenance, supplemental oxygen, and possible increased risk of abdominal bleeding post-procedure. These complications involved the technical component of the stimulation and capture of the oocytes. Medical issues such as hypertension, acid reflux, asthma, diabetes, and sleep apnea only serve to potentially the technical risk of the procedures.

The Effects of Being Underweight on Fertility

Underweight is defined as a BMI less than 19 which is equivalent to a 5 feet 5 inch woman weighing less than 114 pounds. Infertility is more likely to occur in underweight than normal-weight women due to ovulation dysfunction. The incidence of early miscarriage is also increased in underweight women, most likely due to hormone imbalance.

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If you are having difficulty getting pregnant and would like to learn more about how weight affects pregnancy, please contact us for a consultation!


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