Natasha Dunn

Natasha Dunn

Senior embryologist at Primary IVF, Yoga teacher, Nutritionist
Natasha Dunn

Latest posts by Natasha Dunn (see all)

Are you struggling to maintain a healthy weight range, and fall pregnant? Many women are either over or under weight while planning for pregnancy. Maintaining your weight within a healthy range optimizes your chance of successful conception. Being overweight or being underweight can also have an effect on childbearing, and your baby’s future.

 

What is a healthy weight?

What is a healthy weight range? A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is a healthy range, maintaining a healthy BMI reduces health risks. You must also take into consideration that muscle weighs more than fat, if you are fit and carry a lot of muscle, your BMI might be increased.

 

How does being overweight affect your fertility?

Did you know that women who are overweight or underweight are at risk of reduced fertility, and other health concerns?

  • It has been reported in a study by Hornstien et al (2018), women who have an unhealthy BMI have fertility issues due to a lack of ovulation.
  • Being overweight or underweight leads to reduced egg quality, poorer follicle development and impaired development of the uterine lining.
  • Weight affects those undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART), as it causes a lower egg count.
  • Obesity has an increased effect on spontaneous abortion rates.
  • Every 5kgs above or below your body’s healthy weight average, reduces your chances of fertility.
  • A study of 67 overweight women by Hornstien et al (2018), suggested women who lost an average of 10kg resumed normal ovulation and 52 of these women fell pregnant.
  • Men’s weight also plays a role in fertility. Keeping a healthy weight and consuming a diet rich in antioxidants, increases sperm count and corrects hormonal imbalances that can affect sperm quality.
  • Participate in a lifestyle modification program if you are having difficulty achieving weight loss or gain alone.
  • Exercise 30-40 minutes per day aiming for an increased heart rate.
  • For overweight couples, consume a low calorie diet of 1000-2000kcal/day aiming to decrease total body weight by 10% over 6 months.
  • A study by Hornstien et al (2018), it was found that excessive bike riding lowers sperm count.

 

How does being underweight affect your fertility?

  • Hornstien et al (2018), concluded that a low BMI is also associated with women not ovulating.
  • Women who follow a low calorie diet and exercise excessively have hormonal imbalances such as reduced estrogen, which causes ovulation issues and lowered fertility.
  • Increasing body weight with a healthy diet, improves ovulation and hormonal factors and, increasing chances of a pregnancy.

 

What sort of diet should you follow?

  • The Mediterranean diet and a reduced trans-fat diet is great for preparing for pregnancy.
  • Follow a “fertility” diet higher in monounsaturated fats, higher percentage of vegetable based (rather than animal) protein, low GI carbohydrates, full fat dairy, and the use of a good multivitamin or pregnancy vitamin.
  • A healthy diet is favourable to glucose and insulin levels being stabilised, which all play an important role in in ovulation.
  • Reduce caffeine intake to 1-2 cups per day
  • Avoid pollutants, BPA, cleaning solvents, heavy metals, smoking and recreational drugs

If you are struggling with what to eat, how to lose weight and stay healthy book an appointment with one of our nutritionist today.

 

Reference

Hornstein., M. D, Gibbons, W, E., Schenken, R, S., (2018). Optimizing natural fertility in couples planning pregnancy. Sited 26 March 2018 www.uptodate.com

 

 

 

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