Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to hear that their weight could be an issue – the reason they haven’t been able to get pregnant. Especially women. But losing weight (or gaining weight if you’re on the other side of the scale) can greatly help you boost your natural fertility. In fact, being at the correct weight can actually undue your infertility.
Your ovaries and fat cells actually regulate your estrogen levels.
If you are under weight, or have a BMI of less than 20, you’re body basically goes into survival mode only. You aren’t producing enough estrogen and your menstrual cycle can stop completely as your body’s way of stopping you from getting pregnant when you are not nourished well enough. Studies have even shown up to 50% of women with a BMI under 20 are infertile.
If you are overweight, or have a BMI of over 30, this negatively effects you as well. The problem is, all that excess fat causes excess estrogen throughout your body. To much estrogen and your hormonal system is out of balance and may not produce healthy eggs or release them at the correct times. Obesity has even been associated with an increased risk of early pregnancy loss after IVF and a decreased rate fertilization.
So what’s a girl to do?
The best thing to do is not “diet”. Honestly. Especially not a crash diet. For when you crash diet, your body goes into starvation made and your metabolism slows. Plus, such a drastic measure can upset your hormonal balance even further. Not something you want to do while trying to get pregnant!
The best thing you can do is slowly change your diet to include more fruits, vegetables, and high quality meats and dairy, skip the fast food and candy bars, and just try and move a bit more. Make sure you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with a couple healthy snacks during the day. If you are a chronic over eater, start taking less on your plate at each meal. Change just one thing each week or each month if need be, but just start making changes. Slowly you’ll see the weight fall off.
Make sure you don’t cut out fat though – it’s essential to hormone production!
And if you are one of those that need to gain, make sure you are eating high quality, regular fat foods. Include an extra meal or snack into each day for another few hundred calories. Just remember, although you need to gain, it doesn’t mean you get to pig out on junk food! If you’re still having problems gaining weight, it may be time to look into gluten intolerance as a cause.
And the over used phrase for those TTC’ing, “Don’t stress about it”.
While your weight may be a factor in your infertility, try not to worry about all that weight you have to lose. Sometimes just a 10% drop (or gain for you skinny girls!) in weight can help balance the hormones out enough to where ovulation occurs and a healthy egg is released. It’s not an overnight cure, but it is also something that will help you in the long run to have a healthy pregnancy once you do conceive.
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