A balanced and healthy body is a fertile body. As more and more studies search for answers about infertility and reproduction; scientists are slowly acknowledging that optimum fertility is not just about the reproductive organs and system– it is a complex process involving various body systems and the mind.
Being underweight or overweight will negatively impact fertility and weight issues are a definite cause of infertility. On the overweight front, a recent study suggests that severely obese women are 43% less likely to get pregnant than normal-weight women. So, even women who have regular ovulation and menstrual cycles can have difficulty conceiving when they are overweight.
Scientists do not know exactly why obesity causes infertility. It could be because obesity in women is associated with abnormal sex steroids, and abnormal levels of insulin in the blood. This in turn leads to more problems such as abnormal periods, higher levels of male hormones, and an abnormal thickening of the uterus lining. One or a combination of these issues could result in infertility. Studies also show that healthy sperm density and parameters of obese males is lower than their healthy counterparts.
So what is the ideal weight and how does one get there?
The relation between body fat and BMI differs with age and gender. Women, for example, are more likely to have a higher percent of body fat than men with the same BMI. On average, older people may have more body fat than younger adults with the same BMI.
|*||More than 40||Severely Obese|
|*||Less than 18||Underweight|
An adult with a BMI of less than 18 is considered to be underweight.
An adult with a BMI between 18 and 25 is considered to be of a normal, healthy weight.
An adult with a BMI of between 25 and 30 is considered to be overweight.
An adult with a BMI of over 30 is considered to be obese.
Although the BMI can be a good guide, when trying to lose weight, keeping track of your body fat percentages is much better than keeping track of total weight because of body fluid variations. Here are the specific guidelines for body fat percentages:
|Normal||15-25 percent||10-20 percent|
|Overweight||25.1-29.9 percent||20.1-24.9 percent|
|Obese||Over 30 percent||Over 25 percent|
Experts suggest that even a weight loss of 5 to 10% can dramatically improve ovulation and chances of pregnancy. The only way to achieve this and stay healthy is avoiding crash diets. Weight loss is really more about a healthy lifestyle, pre-planning and reinforcing new habits than anything else. There is no substitute to eating balanced and nutritious meals and exercising regularly.
Foods to include: Lots vegetable, quality protein (fish, chicken, eggs, venison, beef etc).
Foods to avoid: Saturated fats (butter, hydrogenated oils, trans fats ), highly processed/junk foods.
Exercise: At least 60 minutes, five to seven times a week; program should include a great cardiovascular workout (elliptical, treadmill, swimming, or low-impact aerobics) and weighted exercises for toning.
Minimize stress: Take up hobbies that increase physical activity and act as stress busters like yoga, or a favorite sport. This prevents build up of “stress-hormones”, which can come in the way of losing weight.
Always consult a medical professional that you trust and who knows you well so you can get the tips and advice that fit you and your individual needs the best. It is not impossible to achieve these goals, and the key is to stay motivated and always remain focused on the ultimate outcome — your optimum fertility and the health of your prospective family depend on it!
For simple, easy ways to lose weight with delicious recipes — be sure to order your copy of Eat Your Way To Parenthood: The Diet Secrets of Highly Fertile Couples Revealed (RRP $34.95 GoKo Publishing 2008) today!