My wife has failed to conceive

Dear Doctor: We have been married for six months but my wife has failed to conceive. Instead, she is putting on more weight. Isn’t this a sign that she will not be able to have a baby?

Godfrey

Dear Godfrey: It is a common belief in Uganda that when a woman takes long to get pregnant and starts to become overweight, it is an indication of infertility. What is true is that, apart from genetic factors, eating fatty or sugared foods, and leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain.

When a woman becomes obese, it increases the risk of infertility because of lack of ovulation and reduced response to fertility treatment.

An overweight expectant mother may suffer from pregnancy related complications such as hypertension, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, infection, blood clot and a need for caesarean birth. Miscarriages are also common when an expectant mother is overweight or obese.

Sometimes, obesity in women is due to hormonal changes, which may lead to infertility. Any woman who becomes obese and fails to get pregnant should be checked for what is known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (ovaries with water filled small sacs), which is manifested by prolonged, little or no periods, and high blood sugar.

If a woman is overweight and plans to become pregnant, she needs to be on a healthy diet and engage in regular exercise. Losing too much weight, however, should be avoided as it could also lead to infertility.

Six months without getting pregnant is not long enough for couples to get worried about infertility. If a couple is having unprotected sex at least three times a week, and it takes a year without the woman conceiving, a visit to the doctor is recommended.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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