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Does being overweight affect my fertility?

If you have been trying to conceive for a little while, it’s very likely that you’ve either read or been told that being overweight makes falling pregnant more difficult. However, then you walk down the street and what do you see? You see a woman who looks as though she has a problem with her weight, pushing a pram. Your first thought is ‘This isn’t fair’’ and then probably something like ‘’Why can she get pregnant when she’s overweight and I can’t? Your feelings of frustration deepen and your sadness grows.


You may have experienced the upsetting scenario when your doctor says that you need to ‘’Go away and lose weight and come back when you’ve got your BMI down to 30/35’’. You leave the hospital feeling disappointed and unsupported. No one likes to be told they are overweight. Least of all women and even less so a woman who is trying to conceive

I’ve heard these stories from my patients over and over again. Trust me, if you’ve been in one of those scenarios, you are far from alone.

How does weight impact on conception?

If you are overweight the delicate balance of your female hormones are disrupted. This causes you to have irregular and sometimes lengthy cycles and ovulation can become infrequent, and in some circumstances stop altogether. Women who have PCOS can suffer from weight gain and may have a condition called insulin resistance (IR). IR predisposes them to obesity, which raises their insulin levels making it even harder to lose weight.

What is a healthy weight?

A healthy weight range for you is calculated based on your height. The calculation used is called the Body Mass Index (BMI). A healthy BMI ranges between 18.5-25. You are termed overweight if you have a BMI over 25 and obese if it is greater than 30.

You can find out your BMI here - http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx

What are the risks?

If you have a BMI of over 30 then you are more likely to suffer from infertility and have an increased risk of miscarriage. If you have a BMI over 35, you have a greater chance of having problems in your pregnancy and it is also possible that your baby suffers from weight-related problems such as diabetes.

If you are overweight, your general health will also suffer and you are more likely to be susceptible to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

What are the benefits to losing weight when trying to conceive?

Clearly, losing weight will undoubtedly reduce your risks of long-term ill health but weight loss when trying to conceive has huge benefits to your fertility. Many of my patients who decide to start to lose weight, start to see the benefits quite quickly. They see that their cycles become more regular and that after years of having irregular or absent ovulation, they suddenly start ovulating more frequently. It’s a massive motivator to carry on to get to your right weight!

Where can I find help and support?

That all sounds great doesn’t it? You lose weight, your fertility comes back and you can get pregnant. I’m sure each and every one of you reading this blog, wish it was that simple! It’s hard to lose weight – fact. If you have PCOS, the struggle will be even harder…….but, it’s not impossible. To do it you need to get help.

If you have PCOS, speak with your doctor. There are various medical treatments that you can consider that will help with your IR and therefore help you to lose weight. If you are an OvuSense patient you can book a consultation with me and together we’ll look at what weight you need to lose and how you can do it effectively. I’ll support you through the process and celebrate with you when you start to see what the impact of losing weight is having on your charts, and therefore your cycle and ovulation.

Book your FREE consultation with the OvuSense Fertility Nurse, Kate -  to assess your fertility potential, answer your burning fertility questions, get recommendations on how to optimize your fertility and have your charts analyzed.

If you are an OvuSense customer you are entitled to a FREE 1-hour consult, if you are not currently using OvuSense you book a FREE 15-minute consultation. Consultations are held by Skype or Telephone. Don't see a time that suits you? Email Kate on kate.davies@fertility-focus.com