The Fertility Center of Las Vegas

Understanding the Relationship Between Weight and Fertility

Preparing for pregnancy often means paying closer attention to the many aspects of health and diet that not only support conception, but also are important to keep mother and baby healthy through the journey of pregnancy. Weight and fertility are important factors in starting a family. Our Las Vegas fertility care specialists emphasize the importance of healthy body weight before and during pregnancy, with a diet that emphasizes nutritional needs to support fertility and a growing baby.

How weight and fertility work together

A woman’s health matters at all stages of life, but it takes on additional significance when considering what is needed to conceive, support a pregnancy and grow a healthy baby.

If your weight is too high or too low, it can affect your fertility. One measurement tool we use is body mass index (BMI), which uses height and weight to calculate body fat. Patients who are underweight (a BMI of less than 18.5), overweight (a BMI of 25-29.9), or obese (a BMI of 30 or higher) might face fertility challenges.

Here are some reasons why a healthy body weight matters when trying to conceive.

  • Hormonal imbalances can occur. Fat cells produce increased estrogen levels, and estrogen levels affect ovulation. Women who are overweight might produce too much estrogen, which can disrupt the menstrual cycle, resulting in irregular cycles. Conversely, women who are underweight might not make enough estrogen to support a menstrual cycle, or their periods might be very irregular. This can happen in female athletes who exercise a great deal or women who have an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa.
  • Medical considerations are present for those not at ideal body weight. Underweight women could risk delivering prematurely, or their babies might have low birth weight. Women who are overweight can face complications, such as pre-eclampsia, characterized in pregnancy by high blood pressure and damage to organs; gestational diabetes; and a higher likelihood of a Cesarean section. Both overweight and underweight women might be at risk for recurrent miscarriage, as well.
  • Responses to fertility treatment vary. The effect of weight and fertility has surfaced in studies showing that in IVF, the ovarian response to stimulation is lower in obese women, who produce fewer follicles and eggs.

How we support you in maintaining a healthy body weight

Our Las Vegas Fertility care team knows that weight and fertility work together when preparing the body for pregnancy, and that it’s an important time to take extra care of the health of moms-to-be. If you want to start a family but have weight concerns, we will listen and support you.

We know this time can be challenging, as the pressure to achieve a healthy body weight can build while embracing fad diets yields mixed results. Our care for you means focusing on sustainable building blocks that include protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and colorful fruits and vegetables, to set the stage for a healthy pregnancy and beyond. Contact us to learn more.