London: Being too skinny is far worse for women than being too fat when trying for a baby. A study found that such women are less likely to become pregnant than those who are overweight - including those classed as dangerously obese.

Fertility specialist Richard Sherbahn, of the Advanced Fertility Centre of Chicago, said the amount of attention paid to being overweight meant that the perils of being underweight were being largely ignored.

The problem was being exacerbated by the "size zero" culture in girls and young women striving to emulate the skeletal look of models and other celebrities, the Daily Mail reports.

Sherbahn crunched the figures on almost 2,500 sessions of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) carried out at his clinic over an eight-year period.

Being thin can lower the sex hormone oestrogen, making it harder to get pregnant.
Sherbahn said that while some other studies had hinted that being skinny may be worse for fertility than being fat, he was "surprised" at the size of the effect.

It is known that being very thin can make it difficult to get pregnant naturally, due to a drop in the female sex hormone oestrogen.

Sherbahn said: "It could be in evolutionary terms that if people were too thin that maybe food wasn't readily available and maybe it wasn't the best time to reproduce and maybe the uterus wasn't at its best."

He added that women were likely to be unaware that it can be more damaging for their fertility to be too thin rather than too fat.

(Agencies)