Obesity is a major epidemic that affects millions of people globally. Obesity also has a substantial impact on a woman’s ability to carry a full-term pregnancy.
Obesity is defined as a very high Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a reflection of body fat content. According to research, one in every four women is overweight. The rates are even higher among women who are having difficulty conceiving. If you’re among them, and would want to consult a specialist on your options to have a baby, book your appointment with the World IVF infertility centre, by searching for the ‘best IVF centre near me’.
Infertility, along with various other sexual health issues associated with obesity, is a significant one, contributing to the troubling trend of the need for and failure of assisted reproductive treatments for conception.
Obesity is linked to infertility.
The association between obesity and infertility is one of the most well-established links among reproductive disorders. Obesity reduces the likelihood of a successful pregnancy during spontaneous conception cycles.
Obesity may reduce the odds of pregnancy in women who are undergoing reproductive therapy by speeding and enhancing their ovulation cycles for higher chances of conception.
High amounts of leptin and low levels of adiponectin may also lower conception rates. However, if weight loss is achieved, fertility can be partially recovered.
What exactly is BMI and how is it used?
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a figure determined from a person’s weight and height that is somewhat a good measure of body fatness for the majority of people. It is frequently used as a screening tool in adults to identify potential weight concerns. It is frequently used in conjunction with other tests, including as diet and physical activity evaluations, family history of disease, blood pressure readings, and laboratory testing of blood sugar and cholesterol, to estimate a person’s risk of disease.
How can obesity influence the ability to conceive?
There is significant evidence that having a normal body weight, which is often considered to be seen with a BMI between 20 and 25, makes it easier to get pregnant (see above). A person with a BMI more than 25 has a lower natural pregnancy rate and a reduced likelihood of responding to reproductive treatment. This worsens as the BMI deviates from the normal range.
A larger likelihood of anovulation, which means an egg is not released each month, is one cause for lower fertility rates with rising weight. Numerous studies have demonstrated that losing 5 to 10% of one’s body weight can result in resumption of ovulation and enhanced fertility. Obesity reduces pregnancy chances even with the most advanced procedures, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Obesity complicates the IVF processes of egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Even when these treatments go smoothly, there is growing evidence that obese people have a reduced IVF pregnancy rate.
Obesity and infertility
Obesity is likely to create insulin resistance, which has been associated with anovulation, or a woman’s failure to generate an egg from each ovary each month. Obesity and insulin levels, both, result in altered sex hormones, high androgens (male hormones in women), and high amounts of free growth factor 1.
According to studies, the prevalence of anovulation-related infertility in women with a BMI of 24 to 31 is 30% greater than in women of normal weight. Furthermore, people with a BMI greater than 31 have a 170% greater likelihood.
As mentioned earlier, even a 5% weight loss can also help boost ovulation rates and reduce biochemical abnormalities.
According to research, the underlying cause of anovulation in obese women is most likely polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is linked to obesity or overweight, as well as symptoms of excess male hormone secretion such as hairiness, acne, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
Obesity and difficult pregnancies
Obesity causes common pregnancy issues such as preeclampsia or, in severe cases, eclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
Diabetes during pregnancy, commonly known as gestational diabetes, is caused by obesity and related insulin resistance.
Miscarriage and obesity
Obesity increases the risk of miscarriage and, as a result, lowers the likelihood of a successful pregnancy in obese women. This could be attributed to a variety of factors, including:
Eggs or ovum of poor quality
Insulin resistance, which causes defective implantation or reception of the fertilised egg into the womb.
Hormone deficiencies and changes, which cause hindrance in pregnancy maintenance
Obesity and failure of assisted reproductive technology
Obesity is responsible for a high failure rate of successful pregnancy, even when artificial means such as ovulation stimulation and assisted conception are used.
According to the British Fertility Society, “women who are obese must begin a weight loss program, and those who are significantly overweight (defined as having a BMI of 36 or more) should not start fertility treatment until their weight has been reduced.”
Hormones and obesity
Obesity reduces testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone, inhibin B, and sex hormone binding globulin levels. Obese men have decreased sperm count and quality as a result of this.
Obese women have increased androgen metabolism as well as enhanced oestrogen levels. Obese males have low oestrogen and testosterone levels.
What effects might obesity have on a pregnancy?
Obese women who are pregnant face a variety of additional dangers. These include an increased risk of blood clots, high blood pressure during pregnancy, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Obese women are also more likely to have a premature baby. There is an increased chance of gestational diabetes, which can be difficult to treat and can result in larger newborns, more difficulty with delivery (sometimes necessitating a C-section), and some early blood sugar abnormalities in the kid.
If an obese woman has a C-section, she is more likely to have healing issues than a normal-weight woman. There is also evidence that babies born to obese mothers have a higher rate of birth abnormalities.
What are the consequences of your partner’s obesity?
It is also necessary to evaluate the impact that partners have on the eating habits and other activities of others in the home. Furthermore, overweight and obese men are more likely to have lower sperm counts with reduced motility (normal sperm movement), which may impair their partners’ chances of becoming pregnant naturally or undergoing effective fertility therapy.
For all of these reasons, we believe it is critical that women try to lose weight before attempting to conceive through infertility therapy. It would be wonderful if your partner joined you in your weight loss effort, especially if your partner’s BMI is also in the overweight or obese range. Book your appointment with the World IVF centretoday.