Surprise! Twelve percent of all infertility cases are rooted in weight issues. If your body is chronically malnourished or overexercised, you can't menstruate, since a minimum of 22 percent body fat is necessary for normal ovulation and reproductive competence. On the other side of the scale, being overweight can alter hormone chemistry and help prevent conception. The good news is that shedding or gaining pounds can easily remedy weight-related infertility; more than 70 percent of women conceive spontaneously once they reach healthy weight parameters. Doctors consider a body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 25 ideal. (BMI = weight in pounds divided by height in inches, divided by height in inches again, multiplied by 703. Example: 135 pounds, divided by 66 inches, divided by 66 inches, multiplied by 703 = BMI 22.)
Weight not only potentially impacts fertility but pregnancy as well. According to the March of Dimes, overweight women who become pregnant are at greater risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure and diabetes, and underweight women are more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby. If you are at a reasonable weight and trying to conceive, now is not the time to begin training for a marathon or go on a crash diet.