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Weighing your chances of getting pregnant

Weight has been identified as a potentially important factor in both women’s and men’s fertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that approximately 12% of infertility cases are a result of weighing too much or too little.

For instance, research suggests that women who are obese are less likely to achieve a pregnancy and live birth than non-obese women. On the other end of the scales, women who are extremely thin may stop menstruating (also called amenorrhea), which means that their body isn’t developing and releasing mature eggs for conceiving, making it difficult to become pregnant.

Far from being just a woman’s issue, it appears that the man’s weight – in particular obesity – may also have an impact on a couple’s ability to become pregnant, although more research is needed to better understand the relationship between men’s weight and sperm quality.

The first form of treatment for obesity related infertility is weight loss and lifestyle changes (e.g., increasing exercise). If this doesn’t result in a pregnancy, fertility treatments can be pursued although there is some evidence that IVF is less successful with women who are obese.

Treatment for amenorrhea includes dietary changes including an increase in fat or calorie intake, hormonal supplements, and reduction in exercise.

If you are concerned about how your weight may affect or be affecting your chances of getting pregnant, you may want to consult with your doctor or a holistic health care practitioner.

See our section on health and fitness here.

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One Response to “Weighing your chances of getting pregnant”

  1. Paula says:

    I’ve struggled with anorexia over the years and I’ve heard that it might make getting pregnant difficult, especially if I don’t have my period. My doctor told me that I should gain some weight before I try to get pregnant, but I’m finding it really hard to do so.

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