Weight Management and Fertility

Weight Management Fertility

– written by Managing Director of Pillar Healthcare, Mark Whitney, and a leading British nutritional expert, Gareth Zeal, for ‘My Fertility Specialist’ – a British magazine covering all matters related to fertility.

We all know that obesity can lead to long-term chronic health problems, but did you know that it may also lead to infertility? With regards to the NHS and fertility treatment, the right Body Mass Index (BMI) is a requirement to get access to treatment. The NHS require a BMI figure between 19 and 24.

The BMI is a number calculated from height and weight that is used to determine whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. You can find your BMI using the NHS’s BMI calculator here. We have embedded it at the bottom of this post as well.

Research has shown that not only that there is a link between obesity and anovulation (when eggs are not released from the ovaries), but there is an infertility risk for obese women – even if they ovulate regularly.

The journal ‘Human Reproduction,’ published a study which followed 3,029 couples having trouble conceiving after a year or more of trying. They found:

  • Women with a BMI of 35 were 26% less likely to naturally conceive on their own, compared to overweight to normal weight women.
  • Women with a BMI of 40 or more were 46% less likely to conceive on their own
  • Obesity in men lowers testosterone levels. Chronic low levels of testosterone affect how the testes function

Another study, compiling data on 7,327 women in 2010 stated “Obesity was associated with reduced fecundity (fertility) for all subgroups of women and persisted for women with regular cycles.”

It is well established that being overweight or obese will impact on your fertility, in both men and women significantly. So, what can you do to get the ideal BMI?

Top Weight Management tips:

  • Increase Exercise
    For most, weight gain is not down to any ‘disease’ but more a result of our modern lifestyles. Sedentary jobs, food on the go, high stress (increases fat deposits) all work against us. Exercise can take many forms and does not always have to take place in a gym. Why not, run around the house, up and down the stairs, wear ankle weights around the office, go for a walk at lunchtime and so on. Getting moving is the best way to bring down your weight!
  • Eat Better
    Examine the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load for low sugar, healthy foods! The Glycemic Index of foods show how quickly the sugar elements of food get transported to the blood stream. The quicker this occurs, the worse the food is for blood sugar control and weight control. Look for low GI foods and food combinations.
  • Fats:
    Not all fats are bad and in fact, most of our fats are actually quite beneficial. We all know about Omega 3, a poly-unsaturated FATTY Acid. Omega 6, 7 & 9 are the same, good fats. Bad fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things that all fats have been blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries and so forth. But good fats such as the mono-unsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado), polyunsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, leafy greens) and omega-3s (oily fish, nuts, seeds, good beef) have the opposite effect.

content provided by NHS Choices