If you thought that your weight had nothing to do with increasing your fertility, then you’ve got it all wrong. Apart from being a health risk, obesity has been known to increase the risk of infertility. Excess body fat can lead to the overproduction of hormones that disrupt ovulation and lower your chances of getting pregnant.
Not only does obesity hamper fertility, but it also affects the fetus. Being overweight can lead to several complications during pregnancy – including increased risk of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, need for induction of labour, Caesarean birth and stillbirth. It has also been documented that babies born to overweight or severely overweight mothers have increased risk of childhood obesity and long term health problems.
So if you’re on the higher side of the scale and planning to get pregnant soon, it’s about time you consider cutting down those extra kilos and commit to a regular exercise routine besides following healthy eating habits. Losing even a few kilos can make a big difference. And if you didn’t know, even your spouse’s weight can ruin your chances of getting pregnant.
What is the ideal weight for conception?
The ideal weight for conception is different for different people. The best yardstick for finding out your ideal weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is nothing but is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. It is calculated by dividing you weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres. It can tell you if you are overweight or normal. The healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9.
· A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered ‘overweight’
· A BMI over 30 is considered ‘obese’
· A BMI less than18.5 is underweight
How can you lose weight?
Making healthy choice and increasing your daily physical activities are the secrets to losing those unwanted kilos. Clinical studies have proved that losing weight helps obese women to ovulate normally. Most doctors recommend 30 minutes of low-impact exercise – like walking, cycling or swimming – 5 days a week.
Here are some small, but significant steps that could help you lose weight.
· Say no to junk food. Instead reach out for healthier
· Replace sugary drinks and alcohol with water
· Eat small portions at regular intervals, instead of eating all at once
· Let your snack break be healthy fruits, nuts or low fat yogurt
· Whenever possible, walk to the store and take the stairs
· Set a realistic weight loss goal for yourself. A weight loss between 0.5-1 kg per week is a reasonable and achievable
How can being underweight affect fertility?
Too much exercise or working-out for a size zero can also impair fertility, causing an imbalance in the oestrogen levels. Compared to women in the healthy weight range, underweight women are more likely to take more than a year to get pregnant.
Being too thin or overweight during pregnancy also increases the risk of birth defects and fetal growth restrictions.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.