Fertility Weight

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Friday, February 4, 2011 - 10:53am

Doctors link fertility problems to obesity.

We all know that being overweight and obese is unhealthy, but did you know it could prevent you from having kids?

Karin Rodriguez never worried about her weight until doctors told her it could prevent the one thing she always wanted.

Doctors told Karin that she may never have a baby if she didn't lose some weight.

That's because her and her husband were having fertility problems.

Doctors said her only option to get pregnant was in vitro fertilization, but she was too heavy to undergo anesthesia.

"I would have taken it a little more seriously instead of finding out, 'Ok, this is what you have to do or you have no other option. This is what you have to do to have the family you want," she says.

They were also worried that her weight would complicate her pregnancy, risking her life and her unborn baby's.

"It can affect the entire system. Not only the ovulation of the egg, but also the implantation process and also there's some data coming out, even suggesting it may effect egg quality or even the development of the embryo," says fertility specialist Dr. Stephen Greenhouse.

Dr. Greenhouse says being overweight and obese can impact a woman's hormones and other substances in the blood.

That can affect everything from eggs to embryos and can even cause miscarriage.

Newer studies are also showing an increase in birth defects among obese mothers.

"There's a higher incidence of spinal cord abnormalities, something called neural tube defect, and something called a cleft palate or cleft lip is also increased," he says.

"I knew I needed to lose weight, but I didn't think it would be a hindrance," says Karin.

Karin says for the first time in her life, she took dieting seriously.

She changed the way she ate, making more healthy choices, avoiding fried and fast food.

She also started exercising.

"The weight just fell off. I think I was a size I hadn't been since high school," she says.

Karin lost 33 pounds, more weight than was required.

She underwent IVF and it was successful.

She's now the mother of twins, Maryella and Benjamin.

"If she hadn't lost the weight, then she would have required more medications. It would have made the procedure more dangerous. It could have affected not only her health, but the babies," says Dr. Greenhouse.

Obesity doesn't just affect fertility in women.

It also effects men.

Dr. Greenhouse says it can impact sperm count and quality.
 

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