Are you having problems getting pregnant and are under or over-weight? Preconception weight and fertility has a definite impact on getting pregnant.
About 12% percent of all infertility cases are a result of a woman either weighing too little or too much.
Of women who are infertile as the result of body weight disorders, more than 70% will conceive spontaneously by gaining or losing body fat weight as appropriate.
Weight loss or gain of 5% to 10% may dramatically improve your chances of conceiving.
Yet, preconception body weight is often considered last in infertility evaluations. Awareness of the importance of body weight on reproduction enables couples to maintain appropriate body weight or to correct a body weight disorder before subjecting themselves to expensive, time consuming infertility evaluation and treatment.
In order to get pregnant, your reproductive system needs a delicate balance of hormone levels, most notably are estrogen and progesterone.
The main hormone in the weight and fertility connection is estrogen, which is the sex hormone produced and stored in the fat cells. Once body fat stores are saturated, hormone balance is thrown off and you start to have fertility problems. This is known as estrogen dominance. Both under and overweight women have irregular periods or anovulation.
If you have too much body fat, your body produces too much estrogen and begins to react as if it is on birth control, limiting your odds of getting pregnant.
Over-weight and/or obesity accounts for 6% of primary infertility. A large percentage of those infertile patients have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Obesity immediately brings to mind associations with hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Yet, most people are surprised to learn that there is an association between weight and fertility.
Over-weight women experience first, a change in their ovulation menstrual cycles. Their cycles become irregular and unpredictable and menstruation is often heavy and prolonged. Heavy, prolonged cycles correlate with increased estrogen production.
It's really not a matter of weight, but a matter of body fat percentages. A woman's body fat should be between 17 and 25 percent for menses to begin and continue.
For most overweight women, losing just 5% to 10% of body fat will help regulate normal menstrual cycles, boost ovulation, and increase fertility.
If you have too little body fat, your body can’t produce enough estrogen and your reproductive cycle begins to shut down.
Surprising, low body weight in women accounts for 6% of primary infertility.
Slender women experience different signs and symptoms from obese women. The initial sign of altered reproductive cycles is similar to that of over-weight women. However, as estrogen production decreases, under-weight women experience decreasing vaginal mucous secretions as well as decreased breast size. Eventually, they experience vaginal dryness and loss of sex drive.
However, the challenge of weight loss is just as daunting as is the challenge of weight gain.
Whether we like it or not, body fat is needed for proper storage and release of estrogen. If the body fat level is too low, as is found in runners and gymnasts, ovulation cannot occur.
It's more a matter of body fat percentages than a matter of weight. A woman's body fat should be between 17 and 25 percent for menses to begin and continue.
For most under-weight women gaining just 5% to 10% of body fat may restore fertility and chances of conceiving.
This is an opportunity for couples to understand the impact of body fat weight and fertility and take steps, without expert advice, to improve their odds of getting pregnant.
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