Even though our culture idolizes the super thin, being underweight is not healthy and can affect your fertility. Twelve percent of infertility cases are the result of women being under or overweight. One study at a university in Australia looked at weight and its relation to fertility. The underweight group, women with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 18, had a rate of infertility that was significantly higher than the women of normal weight.
There are several factors that can affect the fertility in underweight women. One is the irregular menstrual cycles. Underweight women have problems with low body fat. Low body fat causes irregular menstrual cycles. Another factor that contributes to infertility in underweight women is irregular ovulation. When women are underweight, normal ovulation can be interrupted. This contributes to infertility and the menstrual cycle can stop completely. With an irregular menstrual cycle there is sometimes a problem with the uterine lining making it inadequate to support a pregnancy. Some women that do achieve pregnancy miscarry due to the inadequate lining. Reproductive technology can help an underweight women achieve pregnancy.
Fertility drugs prescribed by their physician can help with ovulation and menstruation. There is also nutritional counseling available to help with a healthy weight gain. The good news is that with counseling and a healthy weight gain these issues can usually be resolved and get the ovulation and menstrual cycle back on track.
As many as 70% of weight related fertility problems resolve when a woman reaches her optimal weight. And the last and most important reason to reach a healthy weight is to give your future baby a healthy start to life!! Babies that are born to underweight mothers are at risk of low birth weight and preterm birth.
Patty has worked for InVia fertility Specialists since its inception in 2002. She has 16 years experience in her field. She has an Associate's Degree in Nursing. She is our phlebotomist at our Hoffman Estates office. She also is our surgical coordiator