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Obesity and Infertility

Ernest Hemingway once summed up the pain and frustration of infertility with a single sentence, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” If you are having trouble conceiving, you may not realize how the link between obesity and fertility could be affecting your ability to have a child.

Obesity and fertility

For women, obesity affects your body chemistry and can throw off the cycles of two primary sources of female estrogen: the ovaries and the adrenal gland. Since most hormones are related to cholesterol – and obese individuals are at risk for high cholesterol – it follows that estrogen production would also be affected. An imbalance in these two sources of estrogen can disrupt your ovulation cycles, making it harder to become pregnant, and it can also lead to pre-cancerous changes in your uterus itself.

Weight Loss Fertility Hope

By losing weight through gastric bypass or gastric sleeve you may be able to increase your chances of regular ovulation and therefore of becoming pregnant. Additionally, if you do lose weight before a pregnancy, your chances of developing preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications are also reduced.

However, it is important to note that while bariatric surgery can help you achieve weight loss that could lead to a successful pregnancy, you should not get pregnant for 18 to 24 months after having weight loss procedures of any kind. Your body is vulnerable during this period after surgery. It is adjusting to new ways of interacting with food and absorbing nutrition, and this could affect your baby’s development during the critical first trimester. In some cases, women who have gotten pregnant have found it necessary to reverse a weight loss surgery procedure to prevent malnutrition in themselves and their unborn child.

Once you successfully complete your routine follow-up visits and your weight has stabilized, you can discuss an appropriate time to attempt pregnancy after weight loss surgery. To learn more about obesity and infertility, email us at or call us at 940-387-7599.

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