A new study found that, if you’re trying to get pregnant, your chances are better if you’re overweight than too thin. But lest you think that Twinkies and Cheetos are hte next big thing in fertility treatment, keep in mind: The women who had the best chance of conceiving were those within the standard guidelines for healthy weight.
Researchers examined data from over 2,500 cycles of IVF treatment at the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, and found that women with a healthy weight had a 50% chance of conceiving; those considered overweight had slightly lower chances and those who were underweight had about a one in three chance of getting pregnant. Doctors have long known that being underweight can cause problems with hormones and the menstrual cycle, but they assumed that, because IVF treatment should override such imbalances or irregularities, weight shouldn’t have such a significant effect on the results.
Richard Sherbahn lead study author, said:
There has been the suggestion from other observations that being too thin is not good for fertility. Women that are too thin sometimes don’t always get periods or have irregular periods and it alters their hormonal situation. But that shouldn’t impact on IVF because we’re giving them hormones, we’re making them ovulate and we’re getting eggs from them. I was kind of surprised, I didn’t expect these findings.
But guidelines in England and Wales say that women shouldn’t be too thin or obese when they undergo IVF treatment. Charles Kingsland, a consultant gynaecologist at Liverpool Women’s Hospital who sits on the executive on the British Fertility Society, told the Telegraph:
It’s a general health issue – if a woman has a BMI of 16 and comes along with a fertility problem, IVF is not going to cure her fertility problem.
He also points out that it’s considerably worthwhile to address health issues like weight prior to treatment, as IVF is an expensive undertaking. So what really is the ideal weight if you’re trying to get pregnant? Here’s a refresher on what’s considered healthy according to the Body-Mass Index:
Underweight = Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Photo: Shutterstock, Table: NIH