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Normally, women worry about the weight post pregnancy. However, it would surprise many of you that weight issues matter a lot in your pre-pregnancy stage as well. It's one thing that can impact your fertility in a major way.
We are sure you must be a little taken aback with this fact, but this is what the truth is. You can consult any ObGyn (Obstetrician/ Gynecologist) or a reproductive endocrinologist, and all will vouch for the fact that weight certainly matters a lot when it comes to fertility. Whether you are underweight or overweight, any change in the weight that drives you away from the normal state of it, is harmful.
To determine this, you need to look for your BMI or the Body Mass Index. A BMI is calculated taking into count your height as well the body weight. The suggested 'healthy' BMI range for women who are trying-to-conceive happens to be between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI that goes over 25 is regarded as 'overweight' and beyond 30 will make you fall in the 'obese' category. Also, if the BMI is anything less than 18.5, then it's 'underweight', a condition that again isn't favorable for conceiving.
Among all the health threats that being overweight can pose to your fertility, the primary one happens to be potential imbalance of estrogen hormone. Estrogen hormone is produced by the fat cells and as a result, women who are overweight, have fat cells producing a higher levels of estrogen than what is required by the body.
This apparently affects your fertility in a negative manner. It acts as a sort of birth control by averting sufficient ovulation from occurring. Women who experience inadequate ovulation happen to be prone to the "luteal phase defect". It's a phase from your ovulation to menstruation. Generally, the acceptable length is between 12 and 14 days; but women who suffer from the luteal phase defect will have a luteal phase too short to hold on pregnancy. For them the phase happens to be less than 10 days.
PCOS or the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome too stands to be a common cause of infertility in women. This is linked to an impulse in women to either gain weight and/or have difficulty in shedding the weight. A timely diagnosis of this syndrome can aid you in determining the ideal treatment and even help you in attending any weight issues. Irregular menstrual cycle is also one of the factor associated with PCOS, which apparently makes it difficult to track your fertile days in a month. Other factors of PCOS include ovarian cysts, excess of body hair, as well as heavy and painful periods. Few of the women who have PCOS are likely to experience high LH levels, associated with a higher chances of miscarriage.
If you thought that only being overweight can pose a threat to your fertility, then you must be surely be under a misconception. Quite like being overweight, a BMI below 18.5 is also not healthy. If you are underweight, you can experience anovulation, which is a lack of ovulation. It can even cause irregular ovulation, as well as irregular periods. This is because the amount fat in a woman's body, correlates to that of the hormones amount as produced by her body. In simple words, it can be stated that being underweight results in inadequate production of the key hormones thus leading to major ovulatory issues that make it difficult to conceive.
Specifically, inadequate production of the GnRH i.e. gonadotrophin releasing hormone, can lead to insufficient development of a uterine lining that is capable of supporting the pregnancy. This GnRH also causes the release of LH, the luteinizing hormone as well as the FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone, vital in the increase of eggs and for the ovulation process to occur.
While we are on the topic, we can't rule over the possibility of men also getting affected with the weight matters. Their fertility also gets impacted by weight. In men, excess of weight leads to low sperm count and sensitivity issues. This happens due to the exuberant layers of fat enclosing the testicles. This phenomenon can increase the temperature, capable enough to kill, or negatively impact the development of the sperm.
Similarly, being underweight too affects the sperm count, motility, as well as the morphology. For men also the 'normal' range of BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 when trying-to-conceive.
Though weight can be a great matter affecting your fertility, but you can always get to know how being over or underweight is blocking the chances of pregnancy. Also, adjusting the body weight to stick to the healthy BMI range, will help your body restore normal hormonal balance. Consult your doctor and figure out some effective weight loss or gain plans as the case may be! If you are willing to be on the family way, don't stand ignorant to your weight!