Obesity, Pregnancy and Fertility

Obesity has a marked affect on pregnancy and fertility. It has been found if both the partners are obese the time taken to become pregnant is markedly increased and the chances of delivering a healthy baby is also less. This is from a study published in the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing.

It is not clear how obesity affects fertility in women who ovulate normally. Dr. Van der Steeg, Amsterdam's Academic Medical Center, suggests that disruptions in the hormone leptin, which regulates appetite and energy expenditure, may prevent successful fertilization. Reproductive endocrinologist William Dodson, MD, tells that it is increasingly clear that the role of obesity in reproduction is more complex than was once thought. "What we once held as dogma is now starting to fall apart," he says. "We thought that if a woman's obesity was not affecting her ovulatory function, her fertility would be similar to a normal-weight woman's. But this does not appear to be true."

Dodson's own recent research at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine confirmed that obese women undergoing infertility treatments needed higher doses of infertility drugs than normal-weight or overweight women. Like the newly published study, all the women in the Penn State study had normal ovarian function. "The issue of obesity and reproduction is complex, and we are only beginning to understand it," he says.

What is the treatment.

It is simple. Try to reduce obesity, your weight. Obesity diets and regular physical exercises are the only solution to this. Lead a disciplined life style and do a lot of exercise. Try and keep moving around. Walking is one of the simplest and easiest to do. Make it a point to walk if the distance is short instead of jumping into your car. Avoid the elevator and go by the stairs. The aim is to reduce weight before you become pregnant.

A new study has suggested that minor weight loss in obese women could boost their chances of getting pregnant. Professor Bill Ledger, from the University of Sheffield, and colleagues conducted a three-month study of 40 obese women who were not ovulating. Many of them suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The group's average age was 29 and their body mass index (BMI) was around 40. Health service guidelines do not recommend In vitro fertilization - IVF treatment for women with a BMI of above 30.

The women were given weight loss drugs to help them lose 5 percent of their body weight over a three-month period.
The weight loss of 5 percent was connected with a 19 percent rise in blood flow to the womb.
This increase in flow could assist an egg's release from the ovaries and help with embryo implantation.
The researchers stated that the increase in blood flow worked like a "switch" to stimulate the ovaries.
Testosterone levels - which are higher in PCOS sufferers - also decreased as the blood flow picked up.

"The message for women with PCOS is don't think you have to lose half your body weight. This could also encourage moderately overweight women to lose 5-10 percent," the BBC quoted Ledger as saying. Women with PCOS, which is one of the most common causes of infertility, tend to put on weight because of their condition and struggle more than other women to lose it through diet and exercise.The study was presented at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).

A daily supplement of folic acid pre-conceptually and in the first three months of pregnancy has been shown to decrease the risk of neural tube defects by upto 70%.

If you are contemplating pregnancy you should consider taking preconception advice to ensure your lifestyle choices are giving you the best chance of conceiving.