Being obese or significantly overweight may make it harder to get pregnant. Why? It’s a complex relationship between the hormones that trigger ovulation and your progesterone and estrogen levels. Fat cells often produce higher estrogen levels, which can work against your body when it’s trying to ovulate. While out-of-balance hormone levels don’t always mean you’ll have trouble getting pregnant, you may experience less regular ovulation and menstrual cycles — which makes it harder to conceive.
To understand the correlation between pregnancy and obesity, TC46 connected with Dr Pallavi Prasad, Fertility Consultant at NOVA IVF Fertility Bengaluru. Here she explains the impact of obesity, risks and ways to manage weight to increase the chances of pregnancy.
1. One is obese when body mass index is above 30
One is overweight when their body mass index is between 25 to 29.9kg/m2 and is obese when their body mass index is 30 and above. Obesity is a medically diagnosed condition where a person has an excessive amount of body fat, to the point where it starts affecting the health of the person.
2. Obesity impacts the fertility of both males and females
Many people still do not know or acknowledge the fact that obesity does impact the fertility of both males and females. What people need to know is that obesity causes hormonal imbalances in the body that can lead to irregular menstrual cycles and down the road can lead to problems related to ovulation like PCOS/PCOD. Excess fat in men has been known to reduce the quantity and quality of sperms in men. Women who carry extra weight are more prone to dysfunctional uterine bleeding as the fat cells generate excess estrogen which might lead to very extreme health conditions.
3. Losing weight before trying can increase chances of pregnancy
Losing weight before trying to get pregnant if one is obese can really help in increasing the chances of one getting pregnant. Reducing weight will not only help you in conceiving but will also keep you away from other health conditions and will also ensure a healthy pregnancy. It is okay to keep trying even if one is obese.
4. Women should monitor their diet and physical activity
A woman who is obese should monitor her eating pattern and what she eats. There should be enough physical activity in the day and a proper diet that should be followed religiously to increase the chances of getting pregnant. So, you need to consciously manage your weight to get pregnant. If you get pregnant during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, OB/Gyn Dr Sonal Kumta of Fortis explains here why you need to get vaccinated.
5. Obesity reduces the chances of conceiving
Being obese or overweight reduces the chances of conceiving even through assisted reproductive technology. The rate of live birth reduces, and the chance of a miscarriage increases if one is obese. IUI, IVF Or ICSI? Know your options for an assisted pregnancy here.
6. Risks of entering a pregnancy if one is obese
The chance of getting gestational diabetes is extremely high if one is obese. If one is overweight or obese, they even have a higher percentage of having high blood pressure and blood clotting problems. The chances of stillbirth and miscarriage also increase.
7. Being overweight increases the chances of a miscarriage
Being overweight or obese can increase the percentage of having a miscarriage and other pregnancy-related complications like Pregnancy Induced Hypertension(PIH), Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and Preterm Labour.
8. 5-6% reduction in body mass can increase the chances of conceiving
What women need to know is that even the smallest change in their body weight can improve their pregnancy chances. Even a 5-6% reduction in body mass can increase the chances of conceiving. If the partner is also overweight, he can also try to reduce weight which might make chances better. Here is your 101 guide on weight loss with nutritional recipes, effective habits and expert advice from Venu Adhiya Hirani, founder of Bodywork.
9. Make a healthy diet your priority
If one is trying to get pregnant and wants to lose weight, having a healthy diet must be their topmost priority. One must load their plate with greens and vegetables. Avoiding packaged foods and beverages for a while can help one in reducing weight as all packaged foods have high levels of salts and sugar in them. Here are 8 points on how a healthy diet can affect and improve one’s fertility, according to a fertility specialist. An increase in the intake of water is also very necessary. Learn here how you can include carbs in your diet while you lose weight with expert tips!
10. Healthy lifestyle can improve their fertility
Of course, the first and foremost is to take your medication religiously. One needs to have an extremely healthy diet to lose weight. They need to load the plate with a lot of greens and high-fibre foods. Avoid processed fats and have natural foods. Exercising is very important. Follow a workout plan and exercise for at least 25-30 mins each day. Here is HRX’s Pallavi Barman’s HIIT routine for women who want to lose weight and gain strength. Yoga and other forms of workouts can be very helpful. Here are 10 asanas to boost fertility in women. Quitting smoking and drinking can also contribute to a healthy lifestyle.