According to new research published online in Human Reproduction, Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, if both partners are overweight or obese, it is very likely that they will have to wait longer before successfully conceiving a child. Also, various other studies have already shown the same - weight can affect fertility in both women and men.
Results of the research indicate that overweight and obesity could be a cause of sub-fertility, but other underlying factors, such as a disease or genetic factors, that could cause both the overweight/obesity and the sub-fertility, should be considered as well.
But how being overweight can affect fertility?
Estrogen, primary female sex hormone is produced in fat stores. But, fat cells produce a weak form of estrogen that might fool the brain to produce other hormones that prod the release of new eggs in the ovaries. If a woman has too much body fat, the brain might think that the hormones are all doing their jobs, which can delay ovulation, making it harder for you to get pregnant. So, the closer you are to a healthy body weight, the easier you should conceive.
Also, obesity is marked as hazard to both the pregnant woman and her baby, increasing the risk of some dangerous pregnancy signs and consequences such as chronic hypertension and gestational diabetes. Heavy women tend to have heavy babies, who may be more at risk for birth trauma. Another common problem in obese women is post-term pregnancy, when the baby is at risk for stillbirth and difficulties in labor, perhaps requiring a cesarean birth.
Most complications occur at weights of 50 percent and more above ideal weight. Overweight and obesity could be a problem for your partner as well. Too much body fat in males could cause lower testosterone production, producing more estrogen in the same time, which could lead to lower sperm count. Of course you don't need to lose your weight drastically to become pregnant, but it would be much better for your own and your baby s health, if you could take a year and lose some weight.
The best ways to lose weight while you re trying to conceive are exercise and diet. Regular vigorous physical activity was associated with a lower risk of ovulatory infertility among overweight women. But while moderate exercise enhances fertility, over-exercising could be a factor in fertility problems, so don t exaggerate. The same goes for diet. As long as your diet is healthy and balanced, it is OK to lose weight while you are trying to get pregnant. Your diet should be low in fat and high in carbohydrates, fiber and fluids (water). It should be full of essential vitamins and nutrients, especially folic acid, which is necessary for embryonic cell development in the first trimester. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, peanuts, avocados, cereals, breads and orange juice.
Aim for the number of calories it takes to maintain your ideal weight, approximately 1800 calories a day. Keep in mind that reduced calorie intake can sometimes lead to absent or irregular ovulation as well, so you should consult your specialist first. The best possible scenario would be to lose the weight first, and then try to get pregnant. But beware, being underweight could also affect estrogen production, delaying ovulation and making it harder for you to conceive. So keep your body close to the ideal weight while you re trying to conceive, using regular but moderate exercises and healthy and balanced diet.