Improve Your Chances of a Healthy Pregnancy with a Healthy BMI

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/2/2012 12:00 PM   :  20 comments   :  13,060 Views

I always assumed that when I was ready to start a family, it would be fairly simple and I could get pregnant without any trouble. I had a healthy diet, exercised regularly, didn’t have a weight problem and had no history of medical problems. When I talked to my doctor about it, he said “You’re a little bit on the thin side, so gaining a few pounds might help.” It took almost a year, but I finally got pregnant with my first child. I never thought my weight would make a difference, but I think gaining a few pounds helped. New research shows that having a high or low BMI can both affect your chances of getting pregnant and carrying a child to term.

One study of data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology found that as a woman’s BMI increased (outside of the healthy range), her chances of not becoming pregnant or failing to carry a pregnancy to term increased. "In the other study, researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston examined the quality of eggs and embryos from women with different BMIs. Eggs from women with high and low BMIs were more likely than eggs from normal-weight women to produce immature oocytes during an assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle, leading to a lower likelihood of successful embryo transfer and a lower live birth rate."

Although it took me a little longer than average to get pregnant with my first child, it was nothing compared to the struggles many women face. I have many friends who have been trying to get pregnant for years without success. A significant percentage of them have weight issues- whether they are underweight or overweight. Perhaps working towards the goal of a healthy BMI would improve their chances of success.

Interested in checking out more information on having a healthy pregnancy? BabyFit is SparkPeople's site to help with conception, pregnancy, and post-pregnancy issues.

What do you think? Have you had issues with fertility that were related (at least in part) to your weight?


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Comments

  • 20
    Yes, I had problems getting pregnant because of my low body weight. I had low hormones which was probably due to being underweight.

    Once I got to a healthy body weight and had hormone shots........I got pregnant with twins! So thankful to God that I got my physical health in order so that I can conceive. Due in December 2014! :) - 7/31/2014   3:35:47 PM
  • 19
    After years of struggling both with my weight and with infertility, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). For me and a lot of women like me, simple diet and exercise alone can't always help us to get to a healthy BMI - these health issues affect hormone production and communication, metabolism, etc. PCOS also creates issues such as insulin resistance and, as my doctor put it, "weight loss resistance." Diet and exercise are certainly important, but it's important to understand that some women who are eating the right diet and are exercising at the recommended amount still can't lose weight the way a woman without such issues can. - 7/23/2014   9:06:43 AM
  • 18
    Every time I have lost 40 pounds, I have gotten pregnant and this is after 3 doctors told me I was completely infertile.

    Lose the weight and eat healthy (start looking at that paleo diet that everyone is talking about). It's cheaper than paying for the treatments and everything that comes with trying to get pregnant for years and years. - 7/4/2014   10:47:34 AM
  • 17
    I think my infertitlity had somthing to do with my weight but not entirely -- I weigh over 200lbs and have been that most of my adult life but my real issue I believe was due to my hypothyroidisim which is controled by the pitutary gland which also controls fertitliy ....I've always had regular periods in my life, every 28 days exactly until I had my first miscarriage at 41, then they were irratic -- 27 days, 35 days, etc .. which really, really contributed to my infertility -- we could never time "it" right not knowing when I was going to expect my period and thankfully through the help of a fertility specialist i was finally able to conceive using intra uterine inception and I conceived at 42 and could barely keep on the weight, I actually lost weight during my pregnancy! I had a WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFULLY HEALTHY pregnancy -- just had gestational diabetes in the last month DESPITE my BMI! The diabetes disappeared thankfully after birth and I can't believe my BEAUTIFUL MIRACLE GIRL is going to be 3 in 6 weeks!!! She was born 1 week before Chirstmas -- the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER IN MY LIFE!!! so it IS POSSIBLE, don't give up hope!! I had 3 things against me, my weight, my age and my hypothyroidism and IT HAPPENED!!! I don't think the fertitliy issue is totally weight related as much as it is individual -- it all depends on the woman's cycle and would DEF RECOMMEND taking your pre-natal vitamins well BEFORE you're even trying to get pregnant and MAKE SURE TO take OMEGA 3's too!! Eating healthy too makes a difference BEFORE and AFTER and everything that i've read is to STOP SMOKING and cut down on Coffee ...Iwhich really is a conception issue as well -- I'm not a dr. but I've been through HELL to conceive my beautiful daughter so I can shed some light through my experience. 'd be happy to speak to anyone in a privgate e-mail if you wish .... - 11/6/2010   8:40:07 AM
  • 16
    I wish there were more pregnancy articles, cause Baby FIt is NOT as good as Spark People. - 11/4/2010   9:02:28 AM
  • 15
    Ok. Healthy weight is the key - 11/3/2010   11:23:19 PM
  • 14
    Very interesting and good to know! - 11/3/2010   8:13:32 PM
  • 13
    I just wrote a blog about this yesterday. I wish more doctors would bring up weight with their patients- especially fertility doctors! - 11/3/2010   3:50:15 PM
  • 12
    I personally think it's different for every person. I was above the healthy BMI when I got pregnant, and it only took about six weeks to conceive. My SIL, on the other hand, was right where she needed to be, and it took her nearly a year. Both of us had healthy pregnancies. - 11/3/2010   2:02:50 PM
  • 11
    I did want two babies, and had no difficulty getting pregnant and carrying to term. they are 44 and 40 now. After my daughter was born, in 1970, I didn't use birth control for 2.5 years, and so amazing, no pregnancy. I wouldn't have minded one more baby, but it did not happen. After that my husband got a vasectomy, so that was the end of our child bearing years. I'm blessed to have my two children and four grand children. - 11/3/2010   1:42:56 PM
  • 10
    I have been trying to get pregnant
    for 7 years and it has not happend
    yet. i am exercising and trying to eat
    right. my BMI so far is in the healthy
    range as well. Thank you for this blog,
    I will just keep plugging away and have hope. - 11/3/2010   12:22:05 PM
  • MARYJEANSL
    9
    I have never had trouble getting pregnant, in spite of always being heavy - slightly heavy for my first pregnancy, and obese for the last one - and I was 42 years old when my last child was born. - 11/3/2010   10:43:29 AM
  • 8
    I had infertility with my first pregnancy and had to take CLOMID, but it wasn't from being overweight since I was 125# then and I'm 5'4", but I'd always had irregular periods from age 13 & horrible menstrual periods, so it was just hormonal. I may have had PCOS but that was back in 1975 and I'd never heard of that back then, but then there weren't many obese young women either. I know it is very common now. - 11/3/2010   1:56:38 AM
  • MSBEAUTY711
    7
    I have a 54 BMI and I also have PCOS. It is absolutely heartbreaking that I was not able to be successful with fertility or pregnancy, but I am making changes with losing weight. I hope to be able to have children in the near future..... - 11/2/2010   11:30:02 PM
  • 6
    Not pregnant but interesting information. - 11/2/2010   11:00:19 PM
  • MAPHIX74
    5
    I was above my 'desired' BMI with both of my pregnancies. I guess extreme BMI lows or highs would affect reproductive health, but there must be a very wide range of reasons besides BMI. - 11/2/2010   3:31:04 PM
  • 4
    I think I read recently that blood type can be a factor in getting pregnant. - 11/2/2010   3:07:14 PM
  • 3
    I hadn't ever thought about the effects of a low BMI on fertility, I guess because I have always been worried about losing weight! Thank you for writting this, its valuable information. - 11/2/2010   2:54:33 PM
  • 2
    I think for every woman it's different. I am not at a healthy BMI and didn't have any problems getting pregnant. I am 6 1/2 months and have only gained 3 pounds.

    Do I plan on losing weight after the baby is born, yes. Do I plan on living a healthier lifestyle, yes. But do you have to be at your perfect weight to conceive and carry a baby to full term and have no issues -- no. My doctor even told me during my last visit, she wished she had more patients that were having as great a pregnancy as I am having.

    The luck of the draw I guess. I am a member of BabyFit and it has a ton of great information and the support is outstanding!! - 11/2/2010   1:22:49 PM
  • 1
    what if u just happen to get pregnant and your bmi isnt that great...(low)....what is there to do.... - 11/2/2010   12:55:13 PM

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