If you are planning a pregnancy, know that it could take 4-6 months for any couple to conceive and there is nothing to worry if it doesn’t happen right away.
However, if you are significantly overweight or underweight, your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby will be affected. So how does your weight affect your fertility and what is the ideal weight for a woman looking to get pregnant? Let’s understand:
Ideal body weight for pregnancy
A body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 24 is considered normal and is generally the target of most people. If your BMI falls outside this range, you may have trouble getting pregnant.
Many women turn up at IVF clinics when all they need to do is to hit the gym regularly. Infertility solutions are becoming better by the day and the success rates today are higher than ever. One IVF Malaysia doctor claims a whopping 80 percent average success in his treatments. There are others in countries like Thailand and Spain, who also maintain 60-80 percent success in IVF cycles.
However, the success of IVF should not be your concern as long as you have a healthy body. Excess weight brings hormonal problems and no doctor will be able to help you if your body is not fit enough to carry a pregnancy.
Body fat required for conception
BMI is important but it does not reveal the full picture. Women in general have a higher fat percentage than men, and it is there for a reason.
There is no way to determine the ideal body fat percentage in women but 25-30 percent is considered normal. For fit women, 21 to 25 percent fat may also be normal, while in athletes it is generally lower.
Speaking to the Guardian, Professor Rose Frisch, associate Professor of Population Sciences Emerita at the Harvard School of Public Health and author of Female Fertility and the Body Fat Connection, said, “There is a close connection to fat and fertility; we can think of it as ‘sex fat’ because body fat provides the energy for reproduction.”
Fat in a woman’s body converts androgens (male hormones) to oestrogen, which is why it is so important to female reproductive ability.
Excess weight and fertility
Too much fat, or just too much weight destabilizes your reproductive system as it generally causes hormonal problems.
The chief female sex hormone, oestrogen, is mainly produced in your ovaries but a part of it is also produced by your fat cells.
If you have too much fat in your body, you might be producing excessive oestrogen and it could lead to problems like irregular menstruation, PCOS, etc. which are all indicative of problems with the reproductive system.
Low weight and fertility
Most women intent on looking wafer thin indulge in excessive exercise and their body fat drops significantly, which is detrimental for conception. Their periods become irregular because of this, but the problem may be resolved even by bringing your body weight and body fat within the normal range.
So if you just focus on building muscle and drop essential body fat, your hormonal balance may be thrown off again.
A lot of women become all anxious on not being able to conceive when they are finally ready for it, and start looking at treatments like IVF. There could be many reasons for infertility and an experienced fertility doctor could help test your fertility status and plan for treatment accordingly.
However, IVF should not be your first line of treatment. Imagine ending up poorer with several thousand dollars, when all you needed to do was maintain a healthy weight and bring your hormones in balance.