It is important from a fertility and pregnancy standpoint to maintain a healthy weight.
A normal body mass index (BMI)* is 20 to 25. This level is associated with good health and is desirable for both women and men.
In our Austin Fertility Center women who are overweight (who have a BMI over 27) may have greater problems with ovulation. A reduction in weight can increase the chance of ovulation and, therefore, the chance of pregnancy. Even small changes in weight (i.e. 5 or 10 pounds) can accomplish this in some women. Even though there are medications which can overcome ovulation problems for many women, it is ideal to accomplish this through lifestyle changes, if possible. Ovulation medications can cause a higher chance of twins or more, and these pregnancies can be more risky than a singleton pregnancy.
Weight loss is most successful when both changes in diet and exercise are accomplished. It is important to not over exercise, however. Women who exercise more than 60 minutes per day can also experience problems with ovulation.
Women who are underweight (BMI of less than 20) may benefit from weight gain. An increase in weight may improve both the chance of ovulation and the likelihood of pregnancy. Again, changes in diet and exercise may be needed to optimize success.