4 reasons why your weight may be contributing to your infertility

Being overweight or underweight has been found to have a significant impact on an ability to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

If you or someone you know is overweight and finding it difficult to conceive or have a full-term pregnancy, here are 4 reasons why your weight may be contributing to your infertility:

  1. Women who are overweight (a body mass index or BMI rating of 25 to 29.9) have a 26% lower chance of conceiving, and women who are obese (a BMI of 30 and greater) have a 43% lower chance when compared to women of normal weight (a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9) [1,2]

  2. Insulin seems to play a key role in infertility. A common side effect of weight gain is an increase in insulin levels. When the body attempts to change the levels of hormones it produces to regulate itself with this increase, there is an overcompensation, and reproductive hormones can become unbalanced. Too much (or too little) can impact the body's ability to conceive.

  3. Stress is a significant factor influencing people’s ability to make healthy lifestyle choices which contribute significantly to fertility. Research has demonstrated that women with infertility who learn a variety of skills designed to lower stress, improve lifestyle habits, and reduce psychological barriers experience significantly higher pregnancy rates than women who do not learn such skills [3,4]. In particular, Domar et al’s study found significant differences in rates of conception for women treated for depression compared with those left untreated [3].

4. Like stress, anxiety is another significant contributor to people making unhealthy food and lifestyle choices which contribute to weight. The role of anxiety in infertility is due to the interaction between stress, hormonal and immunological factors [5]. Aravind noted how clients with fertility problems became pregnant after seeking hypnosis for other issues such as phobias, grief, panic, depression, and chronic constipation [6].


Interested in finding out more about how to manage your weight to improve your chances of starting or growing your family? Schedule your free 20-minute call with Karen https://calendly.com/karenbartle/weight-management 


1)       Boyles, S., (2007) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2)       BMI Index Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

3)      Domar, A., Zuttermeister, P., Friedman, R (1999) ‘Distress and Conception in Infertile Women: A complementary approach’. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association. 54, 4.

4)       Domar, A., Clapp, D., Slawsby, E., Dusek, J., Kessel, B., Freizinger, M (2000) ‘Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women’. Fertility and Sterility, 73, 4. April.

5)     Edelmann, R. J., & Connolly, K. J. (1986) 'Psychological aspects of infertility'. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 59: 209-219.

6)      Heap, M., & Aravind, K. K. (2002) Hartland’s medical and dental hypnosis. (4th ed). London: Churchill-Livingston. p380.

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