How Obesity Affects Fertility and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Obesity is a global health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Obesity can have serious consequences for your health, such as increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. But did you know that obesity can also affect your fertility and pregnancy?

In this article, we will explore how obesity impacts fertility and pregnancy, and what you can do to improve your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby.

How Obesity Affects Fertility

Obesity can affect fertility in both men and women, by interfering with the hormonal balance and the reproductive organs.

1. Obesity and Fertility in Women

Obesity can affect women’s fertility in several ways, such as:

¡》Ovulation problems:

Obesity can cause irregular or absent ovulation, which means that the ovaries do not release an egg every month. This can make it harder to get pregnant, or cause infertility.

Obesity can also affect the quality of the eggs, making them less likely to fertilize or implant in the uterus.

¡¡》Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):

PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS causes multiple cysts to grow on the ovaries, which can interfere with ovulation and hormone production.

PCOS is more common in women who are overweight or obese, and it can cause infertility, irregular periods, acne, excess hair growth, and insulin resistance.


Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other organs.

Endometriosis can cause pelvic pain, inflammation, scarring, and infertility. Obesity can increase the risk of endometriosis, by increasing the levels of oestrogen, a hormone that stimulates the growth of endometrial tissue.

¡V》Uterine fibroids:

Uterine fibroids are benign tumours that grow in the wall of the uterus. They can vary in size and number, and they can cause heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and infertility.

Obesity can increase the risk of uterine fibroids, by increasing the levels of oestrogen and insulin, which can stimulate the growth of fibroid cells.

2. Obesity and Fertility in Men

Obesity can also affect men’s fertility in several ways, such as:

¡》Sperm quality:

Obesity can reduce the quality and quantity of sperm, by affecting the production, motility, morphology, and DNA integrity of the sperm cells.

Obesity can also cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and hormonal imbalance, which can damage the sperm and impair their function.

¡》Erectile dysfunction:

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. ED can affect up to 30% of men, and it can have physical, psychological, and emotional consequences.

Obesity can increase the risk of ED, by affecting the blood flow, nerve function, and hormone levels that are involved in the erectile process.


Hypogonadism is a condition where the testes do not produce enough testosterone, the main male sex hormone. Testosterone is essential for the development and maintenance of male sexual characteristics, such as muscle mass, bone density, libido, and sperm production.

Obesity can cause hypogonadism, by increasing the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen, and by reducing the secretion of gonadotropins, the hormones that stimulate the testes to produce testosterone.

How Obesity Affects Pregnancy

Obesity can also affect pregnancy outcomes, for both the mother and the baby. Some of the possible complications of obesity during pregnancy are:

¡》Gestational diabetes:

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, and it can affect up to 10% of pregnant women.

Gestational diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels, which can harm the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of preeclampsia, caesarean delivery, macrosomia (large baby), birth defects, and stillbirth.

Obesity can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, by causing insulin resistance, which makes it harder for the body to use insulin to control blood sugar levels.


Preeclampsia is a serious condition that occurs when the blood pressure of the mother rises to dangerous levels, and there is protein in the urine.

Preeclampsia can affect up to 8% of pregnant women, and it can cause headaches, swelling, vision problems, and seizures. Preeclampsia can also affect the placenta, which is the organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby.

Preeclampsia can reduce the blood flow to the placenta, which can result in fatal growth restriction, premature delivery, or stillbirth.

 Obesity can increase the risk of preeclampsia, by causing inflammation, oxidative stress, and endothelial dysfunction, which can impair the blood vessels and the blood pressure regulation.

¡¡¡》Preterm birth:

Preterm birth is the delivery of the baby before 37 weeks of gestation. Preterm birth can affect up to 10% of pregnancies, and it can have short-term and long-term consequences for the baby, such as respiratory distress, bleeding in the brain, infections, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy.

Obesity can increase the risk of preterm birth, by increasing the risk of infections, inflammation, and placental abruption, which can trigger early labour.


Stillbirth is the death of the baby in the womb after 20 weeks of gestation. Stillbirth can affect up to 1% of pregnancies, and it can have devastating emotional and psychological effects on the parents.

The causes of stillbirth are not always clear, but some of the possible factors are infections, genetic abnormalities, umbilical cord problems, and placental insufficiency.

Obesity can increase the risk of stillbirth, by increasing the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and fatal growth restriction, which can compromise the health and survival of the baby.

How to Improve Your Fertility and Pregnancy Outcomes

If you are overweight or obese, and you are planning to conceive or you are already pregnant, there are some steps you can take to improve your fertility and pregnancy outcomes, such as:

1. Lose weight:

Losing weight can improve your fertility and pregnancy outcomes, by restoring your hormonal balance, improving your ovulation and sperm quality, reducing your risk of complications, and enhancing your overall health and well-being.

The best way to lose weight is to adopt a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, and to consult your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.

Aim to lose weight gradually and safely, and avoid any extreme or fad diets that can harm your health or your baby’s health.

2  Take prenatal vitamins:

Taking prenatal vitamins can help you meet your nutritional needs and prevent any deficiencies that can affect your fertility and pregnancy outcomes.

Prenatal vitamins typically contain folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients that can support your health and your baby’s development.

You should start taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before you plan to conceive, and continue taking them throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding.

3. Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure:

Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure can help you prevent or manage any complications that can arise from obesity, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

You should check your blood sugar and blood pressure regularly, and follow your doctor’s recommendations on how to control them. You may need to take medication, insulin, or supplements to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure within the normal range .

4. Get regular prenatal care:

Getting regular prenatal care can help you monitor your pregnancy progress and detect any problems early. You should visit your doctor or midwife regularly, and follow their advice on how to have a healthy pregnancy.

You may need to have more frequent or specialized tests or scans, depending on your risk factors and your baby’s condition. You should also report any symptoms or concerns that you may have, such as bleeding, pain, swelling, or decreased fatal movement.


Obesity can affect your fertility and pregnancy outcomes, by causing hormonal imbalance, ovulation problems , Sperm quality, erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and stillbirth.

However, you can improve your fertility and pregnancy outcomes by losing weight, taking prenatal vitamins, monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure, and getting regular prenatal care.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me. Thank you for choosing Ternet Digital.


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  • What is Obesity? Causes, Types, Prevention & Definition – A Comprehensive Guide

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