Being under or overweight can affect your ability to conceive. So if those summer clothes are feeling a bit tighter than usual, do you or your partner need to shed a few pounds this summer? Research has found that being overweight can affect your fertility. Men can have poorer sperm quality and a reduced sperm count whereas for women it can cause problems with ovulation, egg quality and hormonal imbalances. Also, being overweight can be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common cause of female infertility.
It’s important to know your body mass index (BMI) as being underweight can affect your chances to conceive too, as being underweight can affect your hormones. A healthy BMI to conceive is between index 20-25. So if you need to lose a few pounds, or gain a few, it’s important to review your lifestyle, diet and exercise levels to get healthy to boost your fertility.
Your weight and body mass index
To calculate your body mass index (BMI) your height to weight ratio, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. A BMI score between 18.5 – 24.9 indicates a healthy weight, a score below 18.5 means that you’re more than likely to be underweight, a score of 25 to below 30 is overweight and any score above a BMI of 30 is classed as being obese. Obese women are less likely to become pregnant through IVF and assisted reproduction.
Carrying excess weight can affect the function of your ovaries, due to changes in hormones and metabolism rate. Obese women have less success with assisted fertility treatment by poor response to fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation.
Women with PCOS often find it difficult to manage their weight, so if you suffer with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), moderate exercise will help with weight reduction, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity, as exercise helps by regulating blood sugar levels and insulin. Exercise lowers the level of testosterone in the blood and may help improve ovulation through menstrual regularity. With practising just 10 minutes of fertility yoga each day you could start to see a real difference and it will help you on your weight loss journey.
Lifestyle, diet and stress affects your fertility
Lifestyle affects your levels of stress on the mind and body, the pressures of work, relationships and finances can cause stress and affect your quality of sleep. Mental and emotional stress can affect your fertility, so unwind from the day and recharge. Switch off and relax by trying yoga, meditation, or listening to relaxing music. With the long summer evenings take the opportunity to go for a walk. Being outside and absorbed with nature can relax you and reduce your stress levels.
To manage stress diet is an important factor; eat meals to include protein, fat and carbohydrates to balance blood sugars. Avoid putting the body under stress, and to keep energy levels constant, eat little an often.
I hope this article has helped you better understand how your BMI and stress levels can be linked to your fertility. If you would like to start practicing fertility yoga, you can find out all about it here.