Weight and fertility

Weight and fertility

What do we really call a healthy weight? There is no perfect way to determine it, as everyone’s skeleton and the distribution of fat and muscle are different. Despite its shortcomings, the best tool for assessing body weight and health is the Body Mass Index (BMI).

BMI = Weight/(Height x Height) with weight measured in kilograms and height measured in meters.

BMI < 25

If your score is below 25, it means that your current weight is not a medical risk to your health. On the other hand, if your BMI is higher than 25, you are theoretically overweight. However, sometimes the reality is quite different. In general, if you are fit and healthy and follow a relatively balanced diet with a variety of nutrients, then you can be sure that you are not at any greater risk to your health than any pregnant woman, even with a BMI slightly above 25.

BMI > 25

On the other hand, the higher your BMI, the more likely your weight is to affect your health and lead to more or less serious diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, you are more likely to have a miscarriage in the first trimester, develop high blood pressure during pregnancy and develop gestational diabetes and eventually lead to a caesarean section. On the other hand, being overweight does not affect your risk of preterm birth.

How does weight affect fertility?

Yes, a healthy weight is more than conducive to conception. Being above or below normal weight can lead to hormonal and ovulation-related problems, which will definitely affect fertility. Weight is a nutritional indicator. Commonly, a good nutritional status means that the body is receiving all the nutrients it needs to function properly. It should, however, be noted that a healthy weight is not necessarily linked to a balanced diet, which is essential for good fertility. A healthy weight is an important part of preparing your body for pregnancy. Studies show that being too low or overweight can affect the likelihood of conceiving a child.

If you are overweight or obese:

Being overweight does not necessarily increase your risk of having difficulty ovulating, except that obesity (i.e. BMI over 30) increases your risk of having abnormal ovulation and an irregular menstrual cycle. Obesity increases your chances of taking longer to get pregnant. If you start a pregnancy and have a BMI of 25 or more, your risk of complications during pregnancy can increase significantly. A small weight loss of 2-5% can improve your chances of conceiving a child and enjoying a good pregnancy. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have a metabolism that can lead to excess weight and problems with ovulation. Good weight management is achieved through a combination of a balanced diet and physical activity, elements which also affect fertility. In obese people, weight loss improves fertility and saves time in terms of conception. However, this weight loss must be safe. Nutritional monitoring by a nutritionist is strongly recommended, whether for weight loss or weight gain.

What is mummyrexia?

For some time now we have been witnessing a new phenomenon: mummyrexia (i.e. anorexia in pregnant women), promoted by a large number of stars and top models who state that it is good to gain only a few kilos during pregnancy. However, the desire to remain thin during pregnancy can lead to serious deficiencies and carries great risks, especially for the health of the baby. Underweight increases the risk of infant mortality. The results of a study published in December 2013 in the American Journal of Public Health reveal that eating too little weight can put the baby at risk.

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