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Female Weight and Infertility

It’s important to understand the link between female weight and infertility

Many factors can play a role in your ability to conceive. Some issues like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis may be out of your control. However, you may have some control over other factors like your weight. Our Austin fertility doctors know there is a link between female weight and infertility, so we offer patient education and recommendations about BMI and fertility.

The basics of female weight and infertility

A healthy body mass index (BMI) is 18.5 to 24.9. Research and experience show that female weight and infertility are related, which means that it can be more difficult for a woman to conceive if she is underweight or overweight. Our Austin fertility doctors often see the following problems with BMIs outside the normal range.

  • Being overweight (BMI of 25.0 or more). Extra weight can make it harder to conceive. Fat cells make estrogen, just like the ovaries. When a woman gains weight, these cells grow and make more estrogen. This can cause the body to react as if the woman is taking birth control with estrogen and cause her to have irregular periods and ovulation.
  • Being underweight (BMI of 18.5 or less). When a woman is underweight, her body may stop making estrogen, which can cause irregular ovulation and menstruation.

When a woman is overweight, it can lower her chances of conceiving with fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and cause pregnancy complications. The mother is more likely to have gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension (high blood pressure) and an increased risk of C-section. The baby is also more likely to have health problems.

As for mothers who are underweight, they are more likely to have a premature birth or a low birth weight baby (under 5.5 pounds).

How to improve BMI and fertility

Although there is a strong link between female weight and infertility, our Austin fertility doctors can help patients take control of their weight and fertility. By losing weight (if overweight) or gaining weight (if underweight), women can sometimes naturally restore regular ovulation. Sometimes, a small change of just five to 10 pounds is enough to accomplish this goal.

Our doctors recommend achieving healthy weight loss or gain by eating a balanced and nutritious diet and getting moderate physical activity. However, it is important not to gain or lose weight too quickly.

Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our Austin fertility doctors and learn more about the link between female weight and infertility. The TFC team has the knowledge and experience to help you accomplish your family-building goals.