There are many factors that contribute to female fertility. There can be health conditions, hormone imbalances and physical abnormalities that can affect fertility, which can be difficult to control. However, there are some lifestyle choices and dietary changes that can impact fertility. If you have a high body mass index (BMI), it can affect fertility. The good news is, this is a factor that can be controlled and improved with diet and exercise.
What is a High BMI?
BMI is a controlled way to evaluate a healthy body weight for your height. BMI is calculated by using your height and weight to create an estimate of how much fat is on your body compared to bone, muscle and other tissues. A healthy female BMI is 18.5-24.9. Other BMI classifications:
- 25-29.9 Overweight
- 30-34.9 Obesity class 1
- 35-39.9 Obesity class 2
- 40+ Obesity class 3
Anyone who is has a BMI over 25 is considered overweight and could benefit from losing weight. Those who are in the obese classes are at higher risk of having fertility issues and pregnancy risks due to their high BMI.
BMI and Fertility
Overweight and obese women can experience several factors that impact their fertility. The excess fat can impact hormone levels, which can directly or indirectly affect the reproductive system. Some of the ways a high BMI can negatively affect fertility include:
- Insulin resistance can result in type 2 diabetes and potential miscarriages
- Excess fat can release estrogen that can change ovulation
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and obesity together can greatly reduce fertility
- Obese women have higher levels of leptin, which can disrupt the menstrual cycle
Women with a BMI of over 27 are three times as likely to not ovulate regularly compared to women in the normal BMI range.
Losing as little as 5% of your body weight can have a significant difference in your fertility. If you are overweight or obese, making diet and exercise changes to lose weight should be the first step in your pregnancy journey. Even if you have other factors impacting your fertility, a high BMI can contribute to difficulties conceiving.
If you are struggling to start your family, there are many lifestyle changes, medications and treatments that can help you improve your fertility. Come see us at Neway Fertility to explore your options.
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