Can Being Overweight Affect Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?

Overweight and Trying to Get Pregnant

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

It’s a known fact that a woman’s chances of conception are higher if she follows a healthy lifestyle and has a healthy weight. And being overweight lowers the chances of getting pregnant. Being overweight or obese leads to hormonal fluctuations, which further affects the ovulation cycle and the quality of eggs. Although many obese women may get pregnant without the need for any medical intervention, some women may require medical help. If you’re overweight and planning to get pregnant, read this article to understand how being overweight can affect your fertility levels and what you can do about it.

Does Obesity Affect Female Fertility?

Being overweight can affect fertility. The lifestyle we follow and the choices we make affect our well-being. A healthy pregnancy is a key to a healthy newborn. Being overweight undoubtedly affects the chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Let us look at the effect of obesity on fertility when trying to get pregnant:

1. Hormonal Imbalance

There are a lot of hormones that the body produces to ensure the smooth functioning of all the organs. Excess weight causes an imbalance in the hormone levels which in turn affects the way the body functions. Overweight women tend to have higher levels of leptin, a hormone produced mainly by the fatty tissues of the body and plays a major role in disrupting the hormone balance of the body.

hormonal imbalance

2. Irregular Periods

Due to the hormonal imbalance, the brain is tricked into believing that the periods are not due anytime soon. This results in an irregular cycle of menstruation. Apart from the mood swings that the hormones cause, the release of eggs also becomes irregular. This makes it extremely difficult for a woman to time intercourse in order to maximise the chances of pregnancy.

3. Quality of Eggs

The quality of eggs that the body produces is largely dependent on the health of a woman. A healthy body would produce a healthy egg, but, when a woman is overweight, the quality of eggs gets compromised. Obesity is also responsible for anovulation, which means the ovary does not release any eggs in the uterus for a successful pregnancy.

quality of eggs

4. Insulin Resistance

Overweight is associated with an increased resistance level of insulin, a phenomenon where more insulin is produced by the body to keep the blood sugar at a normal level. Women with a higher concentration of fat in the abdomen are susceptible to this problem. The rise in the insulin level in the body causes a fall in the hormone binding protein, globulin, which is responsible for regulating the hormones oestrogen and androgen.

An irregular period coupled with irregular production of eggs thus affects fertility and lowers the chances of getting pregnant. Being overweight or obese can have a significant impact on your fertility levels, and it can also increase the chances of your IVF being unsuccessful.

affects fertility

Tips to Get Pregnant If You Are Overweight

If you’re overweight and want to start a family, then there are some tips that you can follow to get pregnant. It is not a difficult task to get pregnant even if you are on the higher side of the weighing scale.

1. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle

If you want to have a baby, start with quitting alcohol, i.e., if you drink alcohol. You might also want to avoid smoking and taking drugs if you do. Eating healthy foods and exercising daily can help you shed some kilos. A good way to eat healthy foods is by preparing your own meals so that you know what you are eating. Making your own meals will also help you control the ingredients being used in the preparation of any dish.

2.  Go for Pre-conception Checkups

Most of the women who are overweight have been found to have small cysts in the ovary, also known as PCOS, that is caused due to hormonal imbalance in the body resulting from being overweight. Losing weight and taking medication can help. But for that, you must visit a doctor and get a proper checkup done to rule out any complications and ask her about what you can do to increase your chances of conception.

eat healthy

3. Time it Right

Excess weight causes irregular ovulation cycles. Use the ovulation kits that are available at the medical stores to correctly time your intercourse and increase your chances of pregnancy.

4. Exercise

Women with a BMI of 30 or more are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension. Losing weight can help, so eat healthy and exercise. You can exercise at home or go out to the park for a walk daily to lose weight and increase your chances of getting pregnant.


5. Include Whole Foods in Your Diet

Whole foods keep one satiated for a longer time. They are healthy and nutritious that enrich your body and immune system. Eating whole foods and foods rich in fibre can help you maintain a healthy weight to support your pregnancy.

Healthy habits go a long way in having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Don’t let your weight ruin your dreams of becoming a mother. If you plan your pregnancy well in advance and work on addressing your weight issues, it is just a matter of time before you conceive.

Also Read: Getting Pregnant Without Ovulation: Is It Possible?

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