Does Obesity reduce one’s chances of pregnancy?
Watch out what you eat and don’t forget to stay fit with regular exercise. Obesity reduces the chances of conception. Yes, size does matter when it comes to conceiving. Lifestyle choices have increased the incidence of obesity among men and women of reproductive age. If the BMI (Body Mass Index) is 30kg/m2 and above, you are said to be obese. BMI is calculated using height and weight and is used to find out if one’s weight is healthy. Obesity can affect the reproductive potentials of the couple leading to infertility and also can lead to a variety of disorders like Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Arthritis, etc. But don’t panic! Weight loss can help you achieve pregnancy. Let us get to know in detail how excess body fat can cause infertility in both men and women.
Obesity and female infertility:
Obesity leads to ovulatory disorders in women and many studies indicate that obese women take a longer time to conceive. Excess fat disrupts the hormonal balance in women which can result in an irregular menstrual cycle and anovulation that leads to infertility. Obesity can increase the chance of miscarriage and even affects the outcome of assisted reproduction technology.
Effect of Obesity during pregnancy:
Obesity can also cause complications during pregnancy like:
- Preterm birth
- Increases the chances of cesarean delivery
- Macrosomia (larger fetus)
- Birth defects
Obesity and male infertility:
Increased weight in men has been associated with a lower testosterone level, poorer sperm quality, and reduced fertility as compared to men of normal weight. The odds of infertility increase by 10% for every 9 kg (20 pounds) a man is overweight (NCBI).
Obesity can lead to sexual dysfunction and affect sperm count, motility and morphology as well.
Treatment for Obesity:
A 5-10% reduction in one’s weight can improve fertility to a greater extent. Following a balanced diet, avoiding junk foods, and indulging in physical activity regularly can help a lot in weight loss. Ovulation issues can get resolved and sperm quality also improves once weight is under control thereby improving the chances of conception. Advanced fertility treatments like IVF/ICSI can also come to the rescue of people who have ovulatory or sperm issues. But weight management is the key to success even if one undergoes fertility treatment.
Right food habits and physical activity can help you achieve your parenthood dreams. Don’t forget this! Happy parenthood!