How Does Being Overweight Affect Fertility?

Struggling with fertility is filled with lots of topsy turvy emotions. Its gives a lot of mental stress, and adding being overweight into the mix can be a huge pain in the behind, and can make you loose it all totally.

Being overweight is often cited as one of the cause of reduction in fertility, but why and how does it affect fertility, and how do you tackle weight gain? Why does one overweight person become pregnant and the other does not? 

People become overweight and obese due to a lot of reasons such as genetics, over eating, lack of exercise, and depression. Some go on a binge eating spree when they are depressed, bored or stressed. It can be likened to alcoholism in which alcohol becomes the object of addiction, but with binge eating, food is the object of addiction, instead of alcohol.  Binge eating gives some form of relief in people suffering from depression, and anxiety disorders, and it becomes very easy to gain weight.

Some people are more prone to adding weight faster than others. This is not always because of the inherited genes, but can be due to the diet and lifestyle pattern that one grew up with as a child.

Being predisposed to obesity does is not an excuse to sit, fold your hands and  just accept that you are overweight. Knowing that you are predisposed to it is the more reason why you have to strive to maintain a healthy diet and weight.

Also, that one person becomes pregnant while being overweight and you don’t is often due to the genetic make-up. Genes can be switched ‘on’ and ‘off’. You probably have genes that make sure you don’t get pregnant easily when you are overweight and the other person has genes that cause other problems. You can influence your genes through a healthy diet, regular exercise, abstaining from alcohol, or drugs, and hormone-disrupting substances.

Fat Distribution Across The Body

Besides your overall weight, fat distribution around the body also affects fertility. You can have a normal weight, but have excess fat around your abdominal area. Women with lots of fat around the stomach are often less fertile compared with women with flatter stomachs. This is because the fat around the stomach leads to an increase in insulin, resulting to insulin resistance, and thereby affecting ovulation.

How Does Being Overweight Affect Fertility

Like I said here, its all about the hormones. Excess fat in the body affects the production of LH (lutenizing hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone); two major hormones necessary for ovulation. Obesity causes hormonal imbalance which alters ovulation. Being overweight (but also underweight) therefore causes a disruption of the hormone balance, which disrupts the function of the ovaries. 

Another problem caused by being overweight is a disrupted menstrual cycle, which is reflected in fewer periods, or no period at all. An irregular period will it make it difficult for you to know your fertile days which reduces the chance of becoming pregnant.

The success of fertility treatment is also reduced when you are overweight. Fertility doctors usually tell their patients to loose weight first before commencing any form of treatment.

The risk of complications during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes is also more common in women that are overweight.

Overweight women are also more likely to suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) when compared with women that are of normal weight.

How To Know If You Are Overweight

The BMI (body mass index) is the appropriate measure that indicates whether or not a person is overweight. It can be calculated by dividing your weight in kilogram by the square of your height in meter .

BMI= Weight/height(m2)

Very thin:  >16

Mild thinness: 17 -18.5

Normal weight: 18.5- 25

Overweight: 25- 30

Obese: 30 – 35

Very Obese: 35 – 40

Tips For Loosing Weight To Enhance Fertility

If you want to lose weight to increase your chance of a successful pregnancy, it is important to do so wisely and in a sustainable manner. The best way is to adjust your lifestyle, and maintain a healthy diet and ensure that your body is nourished and can therefore perform optimally when you become pregnant.

With crash diets you can lose weight, but with it often goes a disruption of your metabolism and as a result you simply gain all the weight again when you go back to your old diet. These diets are also unhealthy because they make you loose lots of nutrients and healthy fat. 

In addition, understand that this is not a quick fix issue, but having a healthy lifestyle to support your body before, during, and after pregnancy in order to give an optimal start to your unborn baby.

Eating healthy and varied food, with lots of vegetables, few fast carbohydrates, less meat and more oily fish, will make you less prone to problems in pregnancy and make your unborn baby also develop well.

Create A Healthy Eating Habit

  1. Eat at least 500 grams of vegetables per day. Replace your bread at lunch with a meal filled with vegetables and also add extra vegetables to your dinner. With that you can easily get 500 grams of vegetables.
  2. Eat healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the form of vegetables per meal.
  3. Eat in smaller potions, and do not eat anything after 7pm.
  4. Leave cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sugar, candy, cake, cake and all kinds of processed foods.
  5. Eat a varied diet. Think of 3 healthy breakfasts and / or lunches and vary them per day. Eating something different every 3 days creates a varied diet. Many people eat unilaterally by having the same breakfast and / or lunch every day. 
  6. Eat a maximum of three meals per day. Often you eat habitually, not necessarily because you are hungry or because your head makes up that you want to eat out of boredom or in stress, for example, and you are actually not really hungry. 
  7. Exercise regularly.

Adapting the right nutrition and lifestyle in order to loose weight is not something that everyone succeeds at immediately, but consistency is the key. Take it one day at at a time,  and don’t be discouraged. 

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