When you're a plus-sized woman, you may hear quite often that you'll need to lose weight if you want to get pregnant. But is this really true? Women that are overweight can get pregnant, right? Of course! Unfortunately, though, for those in the plus size category, it can sometimes be a bit harder. Disorders, like polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism, that can interfere with your fertility tend to appear to appear more often in plus size women. However, these issues can be overcome, sometimes through weight loss and other times by medication.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormonal disorder amongst American women. It is defined as a disturbance in the reproductive cycle that is caused by numerous cysts on the ovaries. A woman can develop this disorder in her adolescence or adulthood. The syndrome is characterized by abnormal or absent menstruation cycles and excess androgen hormones.
The exact cause of PCOS is yet unclear but there seems to be strong link between the disorder and insulin resistance, whereby your body is unable to use insulin efficiently. This excess insulin, coupled with extra androgens in the system, tends to make it easier for women with PCOS to put on weight but harder to take it off. While not all women with PCOS have insulin resistance, one study found that 75% of overweight PCOS sufferers are insulin resistant. In addition to causing a host of PCOS symptoms, being insulin resistant will likely mean that your periods are irregular and that ovulation won't always occur, making pregnancy difficult.
If you are trying to get pregnant, you should consult a fertility specialist to undergo testing and discuss your fertility treatment options. Although it's not easy, studies have shown that losing as little as 5% of your body weight, through regular exercise and following a healthy diet, can be enough to help control your insulin levels and kick starting your menstrual cycle. However, losing weight is not always possible or enough of a solution to help you get pregnant. Therefore, it is also possible to turn to fertility drugs, such as clomid or hormone replacement drugs to help you become pregnant.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Since the hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are responsible for controlling your metabolism, when too few hormones are produced, you are much more likely to easily put on weight but have a harder time taking it off (though not all women with hypothyroidism will be overweight). Additionally, hypothyroidism can disrupt your menstrual cycles and cause anovulation and without an egg, it will be nearly impossible to get pregnant.