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When Everything Is Normal But Your Weight

Filed Under: Women's Health at 4:20 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Mother and BabyMotherhood has long been associated with weight. Historically, the robust and rotund women were viewed as fertile. They were the ones you would marry so as to produce the most offspring. Similarly, stories and fairytales pictured pleasantly plump mothers with hoards of children clinging to their skirts. The thin women were the stepmothers and decrepit witches – the bitter spinsters without children of their own. It is an image that has lasted into the present, but it is one that, according to science, may be wrong.

Women who are obese have more difficulty conceiving. Until recently, this was attributed to disturbed ovulation cycles. However, when researchers examined more than 3,000 couples with no obvious reason for infertility, they found that the same held true, regardless the woman’s cycle. The more obese the woman was the lesser her probability of conceiving was. In fact, a woman with a BMI of 40 had a 43 percent lower probability of conceiving while a woman with a BMI of 35 had only a 26 percent lower likelihood. Scientists believe that the problem may lie in disturbed hormone levels; however it’s also possible that the severely obese women are simply having less frequent sex since weight has been connected to a decrease in sexual activity and desire.

Whatever the reason, it is an important factor to keep in mind. If you are trying to conceive but cannot, your weight could be part of the problem, even if you are otherwise functioning normally. A reduction in your mass could improve your chances. However, don’t rely on this alone. Fertilization is a complex and difficult achievement. Talk to your doctor about ways to maximize the probability of conception. You may need a little help adding one more to your family.

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