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How Your Weight Affects Your Fertility, Your Pregnancy and Your Baby

How Your Weight Affects Your Fertility, Your Pregnancy and Your Baby
Author: Dr. Anil Pinto
Obesity is becoming an epidemic in most developed countries, and is not only affecting the health and well-being of individuals, but is also a precursor of many diseases. Obesity causes hormonal imbalances, affecting fertility in both men and woman. Being obese with a BMI (body mass index) of […]

Author: Dr. Anil Pinto

Dr. Anil Pinto
Dr. Anil Pinto

Obesity is becoming an epidemic in most developed countries, and is not only affecting the health and well-being of individuals, but is also a precursor of many diseases. Obesity causes hormonal imbalances, affecting fertility in both men and woman. Being obese with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30 can not only affect your chances of conceiving and experiencing a healthy pregnancy, but may cause certain ill effects on your baby as well.

How Weight Affects Your Fertility

Obesity affects egg development and release for fertilization (ovulation), embryo development, and endometrial (womb lining) development for implantation of the fertilized egg. It is closely linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common cause of infertility in women. Women carrying extra weight have a 3-fold risk of infertility when compared to women with a healthy weight.1 The chances of conceiving with assisted reproductive techniques, such as IVF, also decreases with an increase in body weight. Moreover, the future health of your baby is influenced by the environment in which the sperms and eggs develop.

How Weight Affects Your Pregnancy

Apart from decreasing the chances of conceiving, being overweight during pregnancy increases the risk of medical complications making it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term. Some of the complications include elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, heart disease, miscarriage, stillbirth and cesarean birth.

How Weight Affects Your Baby

Being overweight during pregnancy also affects the health of your baby and long term problems such as heart disease, diabetes or birth defects. Many studies have shown that obese mothers have an increased risk of childhood obesity and infant mortality. Statistics shows that compared to normal weight, overweight women are associated with an increased risk of infant mortality (24/1000 vs. 58/1000).2

A BMI of 18.5 and 24.9 is a healthy range for conception. Although it is important to gain weight during pregnancy, if you are obese, a recommended weight gain should include about 11 to 20 pounds for a single pregnancy and 25 to 42 pounds for a multiple pregnancy.

It’s so important to keep your body healthy! Here are few tips to prepare your body for pregnancy:

  • Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Lose weight before you conceive.
  • Regular exercise helps you maintain an ideal weight and is beneficial to you and your baby’s health.
  • Avoid caffeine, smoking, drinking alcohol and habit-forming drugs.
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