Weight and fertility
When planning to start a family, both partners need to ensure that not only they have good health in general, but also that they have a healthy weight.
Being either underweight or overweight can have great consequences on any chances of getting pregnant.
Changes in hormones can be significant when either partner has to lose weight or gain weight.
For example, if a woman is underweight, her body fat percentage will be low and that affects hormone production.
Being underweight may cause irregular periods or cause them to stop completely, therefore ovulation will not happen. A woman needs a minimum of 22% body fat to be able to release eggs.
Excessive exercise may also interfere with ovulation.
At the opposite end of the scale, being obese or severely overweight (being 20% or more heavier than the average weight) can decrease a woman's fertility. Research found that obese women have 43% less chances to get pregnant than women with a normal weight.
Overweight men can also experience fertility problems: research found that obese men can have a 22% lower sperm concentration and 24% lower sperm count than men with an average weight.
Men who are severely underweight can also experience a low sperm count, therefore being less able to fertilise an egg.
To improve each partner's chances of having a baby, it is essential to reduce stress factors to a minimum, exercise regularly and have a healthy diet.
A series of counselling sessions may be advisable to resolve any body image issues or intimacy issues that the couple may be experiencing.
Here at WeightMatters we offer support both on a nutritional level and on a behavioural level for individuals, couples and families. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.