I’m Overweight – How Will this Affect My Chances of Getting Pregnant?

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Chances of Getting Pregnant

Self-acknowledgement that you are overweight is the first step to creating change. Unfortunately, being overweight or obese can negatively impact your chances of getting pregnant.

In saying that, most women who are overweight become pregnant without difficulty so do not create added stress for yourself and go into a panic. The main problems occur when you are excessively overweight or obese.

The Good News

The good news if you are overweight and trying to get pregnant is that there are steps you can immediately take to increase your chances of conceiving. The obvious two are to exercise and eat healthier.

The health benefits of losing weight for you are just as important in losing weight to try and improve your chances of conceiving. It’s better for YOUR health if you lose weight before getting pregnant. If you’re overweight while pregnant then you will be increasing your risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Chances of Getting Pregnant

How Does Being Overweight Affect Fertility?

If you are overweight you may experience a hormonal imbalance in your body which will make you less likely to ovulate which in turn will make it more difficult for you to get pregnant. One common measurement used is BMI.

What is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass index. BMI gives you an idea of whether you are underweight, overweight or an ideal weight for your height.

How Do I Calculate My BMI?
BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. There are many free BMI calculators you can use online so you do not have to try and calculate this yourself.

How Accurate is BMI?
BMI is a useful measurement for most people over 18. However there are some limitations to be aware of as it may be influenced by age, gender and ethnicity. When calculating your BMI you must know that it is just a ‘guide’ and not an exact science.

There are many factors that go into calculating your BMI. However, if you do have a BMI of 30 or above, it may affect how fertile you are. Therefore you may find it more difficult to conceive than if you were within a healthy range.

Is BMI Important When I am Pregnant?
You should always consult your doctor if pregnant and if you have concerns about your weight. Generally speaking, if you’re pregnant, the BMI does not apply. Your body is adapting to a take care of a growing and developing baby inside.

If you fall into the ‘obese’ category then your treating doctor will speak to you about your specific needs.

Additional Contributing Factors to Check Out
There are many factors that can affect your ability to fall pregnant. Often, medical reasons can cause problems and this is where your doctor becomes vital. For example; sometimes, being overweight is a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Talk to your doctor about PCOS to gain professional advice on this condition. After consulting with your doctor you discover that you do have PCOS and are overweight, and then losing weight may help you conceive. Losing weight may also reduce PCOS symptoms by improving your hormone balance and regulating your blood sugar levels.

Also consult your doctor if you have had any sexually transmitted diseases.

What if I am Overweight and Doing IVF?
Being overweight can make IVF less effective. There have been some studies that concluded that being overweight may make you only half as likely to have successful IVF as compared to women who are in the healthy weight range.

Where to From Here?
If it is a medical condition causing you to be overweight or having trouble conceiving then that is a matter for you to work closely with your doctor. In some of these circumstances, only medical intervention can help.

Once you acknowledge that you are overweight and have identified the reasons (lifestyle – inactivity, poor diet) as to why you are overweight then you can set some goals and start implementing lifestyle changes to help lose weight.

Besides helping to improve fertility, you must strive to be at a healthy weight for your own health and well-being regardless of what you are trying to achieve in life. Trying to have a baby is just more motivation to lose weight.

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Kerryn Boyle
Kerryn is a Prenatal Exercise Specialist who teaches pregnancy classes in Melbourne Australia. Kerryn has over 10 years of extensive experience in women’s health, fitness and well-being specialising in prenatal and postnatal exercise. Kerryn’s areas of expertise includes providing women with safe diastasis recti exercises to help heal abdominal separation. Kerryn holds a Bachelor Degree in Exercise and Sport Science, is a qualified Prenatal Pilates Instructor.