Carrying around extra pounds can affect hormone production and make it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant, says William Schlaff, MD, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. “The more weight a woman gains over her healthy weight, the more she tends to experience decreased ovarian function,” he says. And a 2009 study published in Fertility and Sterility
found that women who were obese at age 18 were more likely to develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and have problems with infertility
. PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age, and the leading cause of infertility.