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The relationship between body weight and fertility

Body weight and fertility

The role of body weight in fertility

One of the most important factors that can affect fertility is body weight.

Many studies have shown that both increased and decreased body weight can significantly affect female fertility.

But how much weight is considered too much or too little? And how can a woman know if she should lose (or sometimes even gain) a few pounds?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) can answer this question…

In women, obesity affects fertility in many ways:

1) It adversely affects ovulation and this reduces the chances of conception. Menstrual cycles can be irregular and ovulation is less frequent

2) It reduces the effectiveness of IVF. Ovarian stimulation produces fewer and lower-quality eggs and success rates are significantly reduced.

3) It can adversely affect the normal course of pregnancy and labour.

The good news is that, in overweight women, even 5-10% of weight loss can greatly improve fertility.

On the other hand, very low body weight can also adversely affect fertility in women.

Many studies have shown that women with very low body fat (e.g. ballet dancers, gymnasts) often have irregular cycles or even no periods at all, with subsequent negative effects on ovulation.


How can you calculate your (ideal) body weight?

The ideal weight for every woman depends on her height. Obviously, there are other factors that play a role as well, but the Body Mass Index (BMI) can provide a rough idea of the range that body weight should fall within.

BMI is calculated by a simple mathematical formula:

BMI = Weight (in kilograms) / Height (in meters) X Height (in meters) – (i.e. weight divided by the square height)

For example, if your weight is 60kg and your height is 1.6m, your BMI is 60/1.6 X 1.6= 23,4

The normal range for BMI is 19-25.

Therefore, if you want to achieve a certain BMI, you can find out what your ideal body weight should be by multiplying the desired BMI by your square height.

Ideal Body Weight = Desired BMI X Height X Height