One way to do this is to achieve an optimal weight through exercise and a healthy diet. Obesity and borderline obesity convey many risks to both mother and baby that you can reduce or eliminate with weight loss. Studies show that losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight may increase your chances of pregnancy. Underweight individuals also are predisposed to risk factors that you can remedy with proper nutrition and achieving an optimal weight.
Studies that have compared overweight and obese women with women of normal weight who are using assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments have shown excess weight having negative effects such as:
- Lower pregnancy rates
- Increased miscarriage rate
- Lower rate of a live birth
In addition, because BMI is strongly connected to treatment success, obese women who are undergoing ART may:
- Need higher and longer doses of ovarian stimulation medication.
- Have fewer or more immature eggs to retrieve or more cancelled cycles due to an inadequate response.
- Experience higher risk of bleeding, damage to surrounding organs, and an anesthesia-related complication during surgery or egg retrieval.
Furthermore, a higher BMI can cause problems with pregnancy, such as:
- Gestational diabetes.
- High blood pressure.
- Cesarean section (also known as a C section).
- Birth defects.
HOW DOES WEIGHT IMPACT MALE FERTILITY?
Just like with women who have fertility complications related to BMI, men can experience similar difficulties. If men are overweight, it can affect sperm count and sperm motility (movement). When the male hormones are increased (a result of a higher BMI at a heavier weight), it can impair the man’s ability to make sperm on a regular basis. The natural balance of testosterone and estrogen can be affected, which then may affect the ability to produce sperm. Men who are obese can also experience warming of the scrotum. If the scrotal temperature increases by 1 or 2 percent, it can impact sperm production or survival.
WEIGHT LOSS IMPROVES HEALTH AND OUTCOMES
The good news is, a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent can affect a woman’s ability to resume regular ovulation if her inability to conceive is associated with weight alone.
If men are able to achieve a healthier BMI, that, too, can greatly improve their sperm production. Men produce millions of new sperm every day, making it highly beneficial to men who want to alter their lifestyle habits. Sperm takes about 72 days to mature, which means that men who lose weight or make positive lifestyle changes only need to wait about 3 months before seeing improvements in sperm quality—and an increase in their chances of reproductive success.