weight scaleSomeone who is overweight or obese is more likely to have problems getting pregnant than someone of a healthy weight. Many are still surprised that obesity can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. Being underweight can also reduce a woman’s fertility.  But the truth is that obese and underweight women typically take longer to conceive than women with a healthy BMI.

Studies show obesity is connected to fertility problems in ovulating women. Women are classified as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on their body mass index (BMI). As measured by the BMI, a 5-foot 6-inch is considered normal weight if she has a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. She is considered overweight if her BMI of 25 to 29.9, and she would be considered obese at a BMI of 30+.

A woman with a BMI of 40 or more is 43% less likely to get pregnant. Obesity can affect fertility by causing hormonal imbalances, problems with ovulation, pregnancy complications (pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, blood clotting, etc.). It is also associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal cause of infertility.

Though it may be shocking to learn just how much your fertility can be affected by your weight, there’s good news. By committing to a healthy lifestyle and getting yourself to an optimal weight, your fertility may improve. Keeping your weight in the “fertility zone:” a BMI of 18.5 to 24 is a good place to start.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to achieve your weight goals during this process.

The ART Fertility Program of Alabama is located in Birmingham, Alabama with additional locations in Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. The program is led by Dr. Kathryn Honea, Dr. Virginia Houserman and Dr. Chris Allemand who are Board Certified specialists in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. All are skilled in comprehensive infertility care and offer a complete range of infertility services.



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