Address: 11 Mavista Grove Elanora Queensland 4221    Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Book a Meeting Book a Meeting

Losing Excess Weight May Improve Your Chances of Falling Pregnant

How Weight Management Could Improve Your Ovarian Cycle and Your Chances of Falling Pregnant

Quality of life, vitality and wellness are just a few of the ‘buzz’ words floating around, that relate to good health optimisation, however it is well known that these health-related qualities decrease proportionally to an increase in adipose fat tissue [1].  The question is, will an excess of weight affect your chances of falling pregnant?  The answer quite possibly being “YES!”  One of the major well discussed topics, affecting our vitality, hormones, ovarian cycle and yes ladies, our very ability to conceive a baby, is obesity and weight management.  If you are preparing to conceive, or if your heart is singing out for a baby, but your body just doesn’t seem to be listening, and if you are carrying an excess of fat tissue, then this article may just provide you with some of the answers you are seeking.

How Does Excessive Weight Affect My Reproductive Health?

Obesity may affect your ability to fall pregnant either through menstrual cycle or ovarian cycle dysfunction [2].  This article expressly reviews links between obesity and anovulation [2] (the failure of your body to stimulate an immature egg cell or to rupture and release the egg for fertilisation [6]), a part of the ovarian cycle.

What Happens to My Ovarian Cycle?

From Day 1 of a typical ovarian cycle, levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) are on the rise.  These hormones send a message to your brain to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is involved in the growth of eggs in your ovary, and luteinising hormone (LH), which triggers the release of an egg from your ovary.  However, even at this early stage in your cycle, excessive weight may cause ineffective release if the GnRH, in a similar manner to menopausal women [2], therefore resulting in anovulation.   

Why Does Weight Affect My Ovarian Cycle?

Ok, this is the really complex scientific part of the article so let’s take it step by step.

Some types of fat tissues in the human body are multifunctional organs, that secrete out cell signalling molecules (hormones)[2]. 

Abnormalities in these messenger hormones can cause inflammation and abnormal cell signalling.  Hence, leading to a breakdown of cell function and an increased risk of infertility.  In particular anovulation is aggravated by this inflammation [2].

Scenario 1: Coinciding with an increase in fat cells, is an abnormal increase in these hormones, and this has been shown to be associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus [2][3]. 

Follicle (the ovarian follicle is a fluid-filled sac that contains an immature egg [8]) growth may be disrupted due to the effect of insulin resistance upon luteinising hormone (LH) (Triggers the release of an egg from the ovary) [2][3]

PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome) has been shown to be strongly associated with both insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus due to the severe dysfunction of adipose (fat) tissue [3].  Anovulation in PCOS is characterised by increased sensitivity of some follicles to FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH and therefore the initial development of many follicles, however these follicles fail to grow normally [11].

Scenario 2:  Studies have determined that as the BMI increases, leptin levels increase both in blood and follicular fluid [2]

Increasing leptin levels disrupt the HPG axis (Hypothalamus – Anterior Pituitary – Gonads [7]), which is a delicate messenger system whose primary role is to regulate reproductive health

Under normal circumstances leptin stimulates the HPG axis which signals the  development and maturation of your egg waiting to be released for fertilisation, however when fat cells are in surplus, the luteinising hormone (LH), responsible for this action, is inhibited by the excessive leptin levels [2].

Scenario 3: The number of retrievable oocytes  (“An oocyte is the very beginning of human life – in the simplest of terms, it is an immature egg cell. Throughout the process of ovulation, this immature egg cell eventually matures and becomes an ovum, or egg.[9]” from overweight women is decreased, and those that have been collected have shown an increase in proinflammatory and oxidative stress [4].  

Phew… are you still here with me?  Remember, that the human body is a complex, interwoven system, and that no two people are exactly the same.  On that note, there is no one single answer for each and every person experiencing infertility, therefore finding a practitioner who will approach your wellness and baby making journey with an individualised plan is essential.

What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Falling Pregnant?

The good news is that weight loss does have beneficial effects upon your reproductive system and fertility! [2].  In fact, one study concluded that even a small amount of weight loss in anovulatory obese infertile women resulted in improvements in ovulation, pregnancy rate, and pregnancy outcome, and should be the initial recommendation [2]. 

Available data from several studies suggests that:

Weight loss equal to 5%–10% of the body weight may definitely improve the fertility rate.

Even 5% of weight loss results in the improvement of ovulation frequency [3].

If you are even considering falling pregnant, pre-pregnancy weight reduction is of great importance and highly encouraged to assist in the reduction of infertility and anovulation due to obesity.

Another aspect to consider is the health of your oocytes.  Studies indicate that obesity affects their genetic expression.  The importance of nutrition, lifestyle intervention and weight management during the preconception period, is once again emphasised.   [4]

Final Thoughts

Remember, that although the prevalence of infertility and anovulation among excessively overweight or obese women is high [2], you are not alone, and there are options available to you.

Find a practitioner who will create an individualised plan for your fertility journey.

Work with a practitioner to:

Remember, your mind is also a powerful tool.  Stay focused on becoming holistically healthy and strong and enjoy your conception and pregnancy journey.

Book your Initial Wellness Consultation with me HERE, to lose weight & increase your chance of falling pregnant.


1.     Kocelak, P., Chudek, J., Naworska, B., Bak-Sosnowska, M., Kotlarz, B., Olszanecka-Glinianowiz, M.  Psychological Disturbances and Quality of Life in Obese and Infertile Women and Men (2012).  International Journal of Endocrinology Volume 2010, Article ID 2363217 Doi: 10.1155/2012/236217

 2.     Ozcan Dag, Z., Dilbaz, B.  Impact of Obesity in Infertility in Women (2015). Turkish-German Gynacological Association.  2015; 16(2): 111–117  DOI: 10.5152/jtgga.2015.15232

 3.     Silvestris, E., de Pergola, G., Rosania, R., Loverro, G.  Obesity as Disruptor of the Female Fertility (2018).  Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology      2018 Mar 9;16(1):22.  DOI: 10.1186/s12958-018-0336-z

 4.     Ruebel, M., Cotter, M., Sims, C., Moutis, D., Badger, T., Cleves. M., Shankar, K., Andres, A.  Obesity Modulates Inflammation and Lipid Metabolism Oocyte Gene Expression: A Single-Cell Transcriptome Perspective (2017).  The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2017 Jun 1;102(6):2029-2038.  doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-3524.

 5.     Richard S Legro , William C Dodson , Allen R Kunselman , Christy M Stetter , Penny M Kris-Etherton , Nancy I Williams , Carol L Gnatuk , Stephanie J Estes , Kelly C Allison , David B Sarwer , Michael P Diamond , William D Schlaff , Peter R Casson , Gregory M Christman , Kurt T Barnhart , G Wright Bates , Rebecca Usadi , Scott Lucidi , Valerie Baker , Heping Zhang , Esther Eisenberg , Christos Coutifaris , Anuja Dokras Benefit of Delayed Fertility Therapy with Preconception Weight Loss Over Immediate Therapy in Obese Women With PCOS (2016).  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2016 Jul;101(7):2658-66. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-1659. 

 6.     The Nutrition Academy.  Food and Your Hormones. Applied Functional Nutrition Course - Module 3

 7.     Teach Me Physiology.  The Menstrual Cycle.

 8.     Gurevich, R.  How Ovarian and Antral Follicles Relate to Fertility (2020).  Very Well Family.,an%20immature%20egg%2C%20or%20oocyte.&text=While%20several%20follicles%20begin%20to,increasing%20the%20potential%20for%20twins).

 9.    Wawrzkiewicz-Jalowieka, A., Kowalczyk, K., Trybek, P., Radosz, P., Setlak, M., Madej, P.  In Search of New Therapeutics—Molecular Aspects of the PCOS Pathophysiology: Genetics, Hormones, Metabolism and Beyond (2020).   Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7054;

 10.  Hormones Regulate the Reproductive Systems

 11.  Franks, S., Stark, J., Hardy, K. Follicle dynamics and anovulation in polycystic ovary syndrome (2008).  Human Reproduction Update, Volume 14, Issue 4, July-August 2008, Pages 367–378,