Does fertility lead to weight gain? Hear from an expert about its complications

Updated on Jun 25, 2021 10:25 PM IST  |  152.6K
Does fertility lead to weight gain? Hear from an expert about its complications

Many women undergo fertility issues as they cannot conceive naturally. There are many kinds of fertility treatments that a woman can go in for, like In vitro fertilization, Intrauterine insemination, and hormone therapy to name a few. 

What we need to know is that pregnancy causes weight gain. It is important that one should not confuse embryo implantation as being a culprit for weight gain. So, how much of the IVF process can be linked to weight gain?

What are the reasons for it?

During the IVF procedure, some women put on weight due to fluid retention during the superovulation phase which is the first phase in the IVF cycle. At this time, high estrogen levels are causing fluid retention and it is known that the sensation of bloating is only short-term. The bloating is only temporary and as the first phase gets over the bloating also reduces and the hormones get thrown out the way of the bladder. During this time, the woman goes back to being their original weight.

However, there are some cases where women do really gain weight which is not as easy to shed. This is a grey area where there is not really evidence as to how these hormones could be initiating weight gain. There have also been concerns where studies say that if one is obese, there will be more water retention in their body. It has been said that if they reduce at least 5 percent of their body fat, the problem of water retention will not be as severe.

So, in women who had been studied while they were in the process of in-vitro fertilization, it was observed that there was weight gain visible only during the stimulation phase. However, the loophole here is that the results are studied on average. So, the women who gained weight and women who might not have gained weight were balanced out. Some women do end up gaining weight if their body type is different as all bodies are different and react differently to medication and procedures.

The explanation of some gaining weight during the IVF can be that they do take it easier as there are concerns related to implantation. If one is less active and is undergoing a medical procedure it can easily lead to weight gain. Hence, immediate, and a radical reduction in the exercise and workout schedule of a woman can lead to weight gain. Routine exercises like walking should not be discontinued just because you are undergoing treatment. However, you may discontinue extremely strenuous activities like Zumba and aerobics. We also know that while IVF can be very draining financially it is also very draining emotionally and one might even experience more stress, and it has been mentioned many times that increased levels of stress can lead to weight gain.

Is it safe to lose weight when trying to get pregnant?

Do not try to lose weight, just include a healthy diet that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables in the form of salad, healthy fats and proteins. One should just try to maintain a weight that is healthy and which will not lead to any other problems like gestational diabetes. 

One should discuss the weight gain that is appropriate with their general practitioner and of course, that varies from person to person according to what their weight was before conceiving. 

One should preferably avoid having deep fried non-vegetarian food. Eliminate all processed and packaged foods as they contain high amounts of salts and sugar. A healthy and balanced diet will help you maintain your weight and if you do want to stay active start with brisk walks and easy yoga exercises.

About the author: Dr Indumathi Joy, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Anna Nagar, Chennai.


Also Read: Busting Myths: 4 common misconceptions you need to know about infertility