extra weight and getting pregnant

Image courtesy: marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I will start this post by telling a little secret. In my counseling sessions, I sometimes insist on having video chats on Skype, for the reason that I like to see the women I’m talking to.

Why do I need to see them?

Because even when they’re directly asked, women will not really admit their extra weight, and we can spend a lot of time discussing where things can be improved and how they can maximize the egg quality while forgetting this important piece of a puzzle: fat.

Fat is bad for many reasons, and in terms of fertility, fat is bad because it interferes with natural egg maturation in a negative way.

To this end, fat supports all kinds of inflammatory processes in the body, which is bad for implantation and is something that fertility research has just recently begun to understand.

Especially in women with PCOS, being overweight is very damaging to their fertility.

PCOS is a very common disorder, and as many as one in ten women of childbearing age may be affected by it. What happens by PCOS is that a female body makes higher-than-normal amounts of testosterone and other androgens (sex hormones usually associated with male traits).

The cause of PCOS is unknown, but the condition is thought to be influenced by many factors, including genetics. This means that PCOS is more likely too occur in women who have an afflicted mother or sister.

In a study that is nicely summarized here, researchers have compared pregnancy outcomes for 150 women with PCOS. Women were divided into three groups for this purpose: One-third of the women took regular birth control pills, second group was directed to exercise and follow a low-calorie diet, and third group got both of these interventions. After this, all women went through several rounds of fertility treatments. Among those who got pregnant, women who exercised lost the most weight and had more live births than those who didn’t.

This would mean that women with PCOS who are obese are likely to derive greatest benefits in terms of their reproductive health (which finally boils down to egg quality) with this one single lifestyle modification: weight loss. Not to mention that body hair, testosterone levels, polycystic ovaries, and cycle length would stabilize, too.

Still, in spite of this recent scientific evidence to support lifestyle modifications and weight loss to maximize reproductive potential, I honestly don’t see that anything will significantly change.

Girls will not learn in school about it, and TV programs and lifestyle magazines will not bother giving these hard facts any attention because studies which can’t recommend any products or medications simply don’t get publicity.

I mean, who makes money on telling people they should eliminate most things they’re eating? Maybe a coach who works with obese clientele, for other than that there is simply no product that can be sold there. See what I mean?

See you again soon,


2018-12-25T01:07:13+00:00 February 29th, 2016|Tags: , , , , , , , |

About the Author:

Darja Wagner, a PhD cell biologist combines her knowledge of cells, hormones and vitamins to help women with infertility issues. She is the author of the blog "All About Egg Health: How to Get Pregnant After 35". Darja helps women to apply latest advances in reproductive biology to maximize egg quality for higher chances of conception, in either a natural way or by means of assisted reproductive technology.