Getting pregnant despite being overweight?

When a gynecologist diagnoses infertility in a woman, there can be many reasons. Being overweight can be one of them. Here we provide information on how exactly excessive body weight can affect fertility and what long-term consequences it has.

Getting pregnant despite being overweight?

If couples remain childless for a long time, this usually indicates infertility of one of the two partners. Such infertility can have a wide variety of causes, which can be both organic and hormonal. In many cases, the lack of pregnancy is simply due to the woman being overweight. It is true that the number and mobility of sperm in men can also be impaired by excessive body weight. More frequently, however, the disturbance of the female hormone balance is the cause of childlessness.

Link between obesity and fertility

Adipose tissue is an important hormone producer. If there is too much of it, i.e. if you are overweight, too many hormones are produced and the hormone balance gets messed up. This in turn can negatively affect the function of the ovaries.

One can speak of being overweight if a woman weighs 20 to 30 percent more than the average of the ideal weight. This is determined using the BMI . A value of over 27 is usually considered problematic in the context of fertility treatment.

How does being overweight affect hormonal balance?

The female cycle is regulated by both female and male sex hormones. The female hormones, the estrogens, are also formed in the adipose tissue. The pituitary gland then regulates the conversion of some of these hormones into androgens, male sex hormones. If there is too much fatty tissue, the function of the pituitary gland is reduced and the balance between male and female hormones is lost. When you are overweight, more estrogen is produced in the fatty tissue, which can lead to overstimulation of the ovaries. At the same time, however, androgens are released to compensate for the excess estrogen. This creates a cycle that leads to an excessive number of egg cells being produced in the ovaries, however, their maturation cannot take place to the end due to the excess of male hormones. Ovulation, and with it the regular menstrual cycle, does not occur and the matured vesicles form cysts in the ovaries. This leads to the development of aPCO Syndrome .

The interaction of being overweight and the resulting excess of male sex hormones can also lead to a disruption in blood sugar levels and thus an increase in insulin. Due to certain hormone metabolism processes, the production of androgens is further increased by the high insulin level and fertility is thus increasingly impaired.

The loss of hormonal balance creates a vicious cycle, the effects of which reinforce each other, making fertilization and pregnancy less and less likely.

Lose weight to get pregnant

Of course, overweight women can also get pregnant naturally or with the help of artificial insemination. In general, however, the chance of having a child after fertility treatment is up to 10 percent higher for normal weight patients than for overweight patients.

However, treating obesity is not only advisable to increase the chances of pregnancy. Excessive body weight and the associated, permanently disturbed sugar and fat metabolism can have long-term consequences for the woman herself, such as diabetes mellitus, also known as senile diabetes, or serious cardiovascular diseases. Being overweight can also have a negative effect on a possible pregnancy. Complications such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure are much more likely in obese than in pregnant women of normal weight. Metabolic disorders can also disrupt the healthy development of the baby in the womb.

The way out of the vicious circle

In most cases, the easiest way to escape the cycle of disrupted hormones is to lose weight. A weight reduction of five percent of your own body weight is often enough to regulate the menstrual cycle again and to achieve short-term success in terms of the desire to have children. The levels of estrogens, androgens and insulin can often be normalized quickly through a conscious diet, a responsible lifestyle and sufficient physical exercise. A detailed consultation and the support of the doctor treating you are highly recommended in order to lose weight in a healthy way and to have a competent contact person. Many healthy and tasty recipes can be found in our special “Healthy Weight Loss”, which was developed together with nutrition experts. Losing weight can even be delicious!

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