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Malnutrition that leads to being severely underweight can cause female infertility. In women, being severely underweight and having a low percentage of body fat can disrupt hormones and prevent ovulation (the normal release of a woman's egg or ovum from the ovary). Underweight women may also have irregular menstrual cycles or periods that stop completely. These conditions make conception difficult or impossible. This can happen in women who are very athletic and have a low percentage of body fat or in those who have conditions causing malnutrition and weight loss, such as anorexia nervosa. Malnourished women who are underweight who do get pregnant have a higher change of miscarriage or delivering a premature or low-weight baby. In addition, women who are pregnant and deficient in the nutrient folate (folic acid) are more likely to deliver prematurely, have low birth-weight babies, and infants with severe birth defects.
The best way to prevent infertility caused by being malnourished and underweight is to maintain a healthy weight and normal amounts of fat stores through a healthy diet that includes sufficient calories and exercise that is not excessive. It is recommended that malnourished and underweight women who want to have children ensure they are eating a healthy diet with sufficient vitamin intake and gain weight before attempting a pregnancy.
Other medical conditions related to the topic "Malnutrition Causes Female Infertility" include:
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