Planning a pregnancy makes one think about all kinds of health concerns. Being overweight is one of them. The link between infertility and weight issues has been described in more than one medical study. Being overweight can not only hinder conception, but it also poses health risks during and after a pregnancy.
Why does being overweight affect fertility?
Many overweight women experience infertility or sub-fertility (decreased fertility). There are still many unanswered questions regarding this issue. From what is currently known, there are some reasons why overweight women have more trouble conceiving than average weight women.
- PCOS is one problem that is very common among overweight women. It can greatly affect your chances to conceive. Treating PCOS can help a woman lose weight, and thus increase her chances of getting pregnant.
- Anovulation is another issue for overweight women. It can be caused by abnormal levels of gonadotropins, which are protein hormones. They play an important role in reproduction and sexual development.
- Being overweight can also influence the quantity of estrogen that the body produces. Adipose tissue produces estrogen, resulting in abnormal levels. This can affect ovulation, as well as lead to irregular periods.
- Even overweight women that ovulate normally can have fertility issues. The biological process is not yet fully understood by researchers. It seems that certain hormones that go out of balance can prevent fertilization.
The effect of being overweight on pregnancy
Having a BMI of over 25 is considered overweight, while of over 30 is considered obese. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.5 is considered to be the normal range. According to research, women that are overweight have a 25% lower chance of conceiving spontaneously. This means without using any methods of tracking ovulation or increasing fertility. However, many overweight women do get pregnant. If this happens, there are pregnancy risks involved and the pregnancy should be closely monitored.
- Gestational diabetes
- Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia
- Longer labour
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal bleeding
There are also risks for the child, before and after birth. These are:
- Preterm birth
- Congenital hyperglycaemia
- Congenital malformations
- Child obesity (later during childhood)
- The need for additional neonatal care
The goods news is that pregnancy can have a positive effect on overweight women. Many manage to lose weight naturally after giving birth. This may be because the body starts to function better during pregnancy. The only requirement is to get all the necessary nutrients and to keep active.
RELATED: TCM tips to help you conceive
How to improve fertility if you are overweight
- Avoid processed foods. Stick to natural whole foods, without making too many diet restrictions. You must give up refined sugars, refined flours and all junk foods.
- Try juicing in order to get nutrients from vegetables and fruits. Juices from leafy greens are also ideal. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, and your body can assimilate these faster and more efficiently.
- Try natural probiotic drinks in order to normalize digestion. Many nutritional issues are related to poor digestion.
- Regular exercise is also part of the equation. You don’t need to become a marathon runner. However, find a physical activity that you enjoy, and do it at least a few times per week.
- Before trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor and undergo all necessary tests. This why you can minimize the risks of any undiagnosed illness.
- Talk to a nutritionist if you still have trouble losing weight. A professional can guide you in the best direction and support you through this time.
Make sure you like us on Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the latest from Pregnant.Sg!