How Does Obesity Affect Male & Female Fertility And Pregnancy?

Obesity is one of the leading health concerns in the country, mainly because of the adverse impact it can have on your health. Being severely overweight not only increases the risks of diabetes, heart diseases, strokes, cancer and hypertension, it can also have a negative effect on your ability to have a baby.

It is not just women who could face problems in conceiving because of obesity. Men too could suffer from various health problems, due to which, their sterility may be negative affected.

Effects Of Obesity On Fertility In Women And Pregnancy

Being overweight is not likely to be the main cause of infertility in women.

However, around 5% to 10% of the women who have trouble conceiving are morbidly overweight or obese. There are several ways in which being obese can affect your chances of getting pregnant, some of which include:

  • Hormonal imbalance: An excess amount of fat in the body usually triggers off an imbalance in the production of hormones. This in turn affects the functioning of your ovaries and causes problems in your menstrual cycles as well as your ovulation cycles. It is very difficult to get pregnant without proper menstruation and ovulation. Excess fat in the body also increases the production of estrogen, which happens to be an integral component of birth control pills.
  • Insulin resistance: This problem occurs when your body cannot use the insulin it produces properly. To compensate for this your body may start producing an excess amount of insulin. After a while the extra amount of insulin in the body begins to cause problems, like abnormal ovulation functioning.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): One of the main causes of infertility in women, PCOS is a lot more common in women who are overweight. You are likely to experience irregular menstrual and ovulation cycles as well as excess estrogen because of PCOS. This condition also causes your uterus lining to thicken, due to which, a fertilized egg cannot get attached to the uterus.

Unfortunately, obesity not only reduces your chances of getting pregnant, it can lead to several complications in your pregnancy too. According to a data published by the Journal of American Medical Association in February 2009, there is a higher risk of birth defects in babies born to obese mothers. Some of these birth defects include:

  • Neural tube defects
  • Spina Bifida
  • Cleft lip
  • Cardiovascular problems

Women who are obese are also more likely to suffer from pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

How Does Obesity Affect Fertility In Men?

Men too could experience trouble fathering a baby in case they are overweight. Obesity in men can cause:

  • Poor sperm quality
  • Lack of interest
  • Physical exhaustion

Therefore, if you or your partner is concerned about how obesity could affect your chances of having a normal and healthy baby, it is best for you to consult a doctor, before you conceive.

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