It is well-known that being very overweight can have an impact on your fertility, and so obese women are often told that they need to lose weight in order to have fertility treatment.
Now, new analysis of research from the Netherlands suggests that losing weight if you are obese might not have an immediate impact on your chances of getting pregnant with fertility treatment but what it does make a difference to is your chances of getting pregnant naturally.
The researchers found weight loss had a significant impact on the chances of getting pregnant naturally, particularly for women who were not ovulating. There was a marked increase in the chances of getting pregnant naturally for this group when they lost weight. The research team suggest that this shows that healthy lifestyle changes could be a first port of call for obese women, especially those who aren’t ovulating.
You can read more about this research presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting here.
We are forever being told that weight affects fertility, but what isn’t always clear is quite how overweight or underweight you have to be for this to start having an impact. If you’re going to have IVF treatment, the cut off point for over weight is often a BMI of 30 and over – but if all you know is how much you weigh, that’s not a lot of help. If you want to find out your BMI yourself, it’s actually not difficult as you can use an online BMI calculator like this one http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx
It is evident that maintaining a healthy weight can make a difference, and that applies to being very underweight as well as overweight as at either end of the scale, there can be an impact on ovulation, or egg production. One of the difficulties of keeping to a healthy weight is that eating can be so tied up with emotions for some of us – and if you are feeling miserable about not getting pregnant, it can become a vicious circle of comfort eating to try to console yourself. Having some chocolate or a glass of wine now and again is fine, but it’s when you find yourself eating too much on a regular basis because you are feeling unhappy that it becomes an issue.
If this is how you feel, it’s always a good idea to try to get some support. Don’t feel embarrassed about talking to your doctor about this as they can help – see here. Eating well can make you feel better altogether, and can ensure your body is ready for conception. You may also be surprised at the impact it can have on your overall sense of well-being so do get help if you need it.
How much we weigh and whether or not we are over or underweight is an important issue for many fertility patients. NHS treatment is often confined to those who fall within the “acceptable” range and are not considered to be obese or underweight as it is known that this can affect fertility. However, the ways in which we judge what constitutes obesity or low weight have often come in for some criticism.
The BMI formula which uses your height and bodyweight to work out your position on a weight scale has now been challenged by an Oxford Professor who feels it is flawed and has devised a new formula. You can find more details here and can assess your weight using his revised working.
Having always fallen into the normal weight category using BMI, I wasn’t delighted to discover that I’m on the cusp of being overweight using this new scale, but apparently the main change in this new proposal is that many short people (like me!) who had a normal BMI will become overweight and many tall people who were obese or overweight will now fall into the normal category.
Perhaps it just goes to show that weight isn’t quite as cut and dried a matter as we tend to believe!