Does Being Overweight or Underweight Affect Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?

When you start trying to get pregnant, you also start thinking about everything you can do to increase your chances of successful conception and healthy pregnancy, including wondering about your weight. You may have heard your body weight can make a difference in your ability to get pregnant. Should you try to gain weight, or go on a diet, before conceiving?

At New York Fertility Institute, located in New York City's Upper East Side, our team of fertility experts can guide you through every step of your conception and pregnancy journey. If your weight impacts your chances, we can advise you on the best next steps for you and your family.

How much does bodyweight matter?

While everyone’s reproductive system is different, overall your bodyweight does make a difference in your ability to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy. For the best outcomes, you want to be somewhere near your ideal body weight, neither too heavy nor too thin. This is because of both your overall health and the connection between your weight and your reproductive hormones.

Being overweight can limit your chances in several ways. Fat cells release estrogen, the hormone produced by your ovaries. If your overall levels of estrogen get too high, your body can become confused, destabilizing your ovulation and menstrual cycles. Being overweight or obese can also impede fertility treatments from working, as well, including in vitro fertilization.

However, being underweight can also be a problem for conception. If your BMI is 18.5 or less, your body might not make enough estrogen or might stop producing the hormone altogether. This can result in your menstrual cycle becoming irregular, or even stopping completely, making it harder to predict when you might be fertile. Losing weight from over-exercise or under-eating can make you particularly vulnerable to this issue.

What you can do

For the best conception and pregnancy outcomes, you want to strengthen and support your body without over-stressing your system. Some weight loss through exercise and dietary changes could help you get pregnant more easily, or you may need to supplement your nutrition to healthily increase your bodyweight. You could also be dealing with other factors, like polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes both infertility in women and obesity.

The care team at New York Fertility Institute can talk to you about your body weight, and recommend the right treatment plan for your unique lifestyle needs and family planning goals. To schedule your initial consultation appointment with fertility specialists Khalid Sultan, MD, and Majid Fateh, MD, call our New York City, New York offices over the phone, or use the online booking tool at your convenience.

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