Being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk of numerous diseases and health conditions. Carrying excess weight has a negative impact on your quality of life and problem becomes even worse for women who want to conceive.
Higher BMI affects your chances of getting pregnant, which can be quite stressful. Chances are high you or someone you know have probably experienced these struggles.
That said, getting pregnant is not impossible. Many things can increase your odds of conceiving and this article is going to discuss this subject in a greater detail.
Obesity and Pregnancy – What is the Link?
Before we proceed to tips that will, actually, increase your chances of getting pregnant it is important to discuss this subject more thoroughly. While it is not uncommon for people to perceive these statements as myths or some sort of marketing claims to sell weight loss products, the relationship between obesity and pregnancy struggles is evident.
For example, a study from the Human Reproduction discovered that couples who are obese may take longer to conceive compared to couples who are within the healthy weight range. In fact, overweight or obese couples took 55% longer to get pregnant than healthy weight counterparts.
The PLoS One published results of the research which found that overweight or obese women who are trying to conceive may experience difficulties due to fatty ovaries. Scientists discovered that embryos created from the fat-exposed eggs have fewer cells and undergo changes in gene and metabolic activity.
Not only does overweight/obesity make conceiving slower and more stressful, but it is also associated with pregnancy complications and birth defects.
One study found that obese women are more likely to suffer from dangerous preeclampsia complications while a separate research discovered that obese women are more likely to have babies with serious birth defects.
How to enhance your odds of getting pregnant if you are currently overweight or obese? Follow these tips.
1. See Your Doctor First
Before you even start trying to get pregnant you should see your doctor. One of the most common mistakes that couples make is avoiding consulting their healthcare provider, but this is particularly important if you are overweight or obese.
Your physician can provide useful info about the entire process, tell you what (not) to do to get pregnant faster. Based on your current health status, your doctor will also inform you whether you are a higher risk of pregnancy complications or if there’s a risk of birth defects for the baby.
2. Modify Your Diet
A well-balanced diet should be a standard part of a healthy lifestyle, but we usually tend to ignore it. Don’t wait to get pregnant to improve your eating habits, do it now. A healthy diet helps you lose weight and keep it in a healthy range and supplies your body with essential nutrients to help you conceive faster.
During pregnancy, healthy foods prevent gaining too much weight and make post-pregnancy weight gain easier to handle or helps you avoid it. Here are some dietary recommendations to enhance your chances of getting pregnant:
- Ditch alcohol
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Avoid junk food
- Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Eat protein-rich food
- Include sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in the menu
3. Manage Your Weight
As shown above, being overweight or obese makes it difficult to get pregnant especially if your partner is overweight as well. You will have higher chances to achieve your goal and conceive if you and your significant other start working to lose weight.
You don’t need to follow some dangerous diets; it is possible to slim down just by making diet modifications and exercising regularly. Successful weight loss depends on a healthy lifestyle and with strong willpower, you can do it.
Slimming down will help you get pregnant faster and lower chances of complications and birth defects.
One study found that stress makes it more difficult for women to stay pregnant. Now, when you pair extra weight with stress, then it is easy to understand why you have been struggling. The hectic lifestyle we have nowadays brings a lot of stress which affects the overall quality of life of every individual.
Therefore, an important thing to do to increase chances of getting pregnant is to find a unique way to manage stress.
Since we cannot, actually, avoid stress because it is a part of life, there are numerous things we can do to lessen its impact. Stress management technique depends on you and your preferences. Ideally, you should do something that you find relaxing the most. Even exercise can be a great stress buster.
5. Test for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age. Affected ladies may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid i.e. follicles. The syndrome is characterized by low-grade inflammation, excess insulin, and high male hormone levels.
About 80% of all women with this syndrome are overweight or obese meaning one reason you struggle to get pregnant could be due to this medical problem. See your doctor who will recommend tests to make a diagnosis. In the case of polycystic ovarian syndrome, your physician recommends an adequate treatment.
6. Monitor Menstrual Cycle
In order to get pregnant, you have to understand your menstrual cycle and the days when you are more fertile than others. After all, having sex when you are ovulating is the best strategy to get pregnant.
For example, it is always useful to know signs of ovulation like a change in cervical mucus. During this time, cervical mucus becomes thin and slippery.
If you are under 30, you should monitor your menstrual cycle (menstrual calendars and apps help) and try to conceive on your own for about six months before you return to the doctor’s office and see what’s your next step.
If you’re older than 30, you should also keep track of menstrual cycle and its regularity. For instance, if periods aren’t regular you should consult your doctor, particularly if you’re in the late 30s or early 40s. It is possible to enter menopause early and pregnancy after menopause is not possible in a natural manner.
What NOT to do when You want to get Pregnant?
- Drink alcohol
- Eat more junk food
- Be a couch potato
- Use weight loss products with potentially harmful ingredients, always consult your doctor first
- Use “regular” lubricants, opt for special formulations for fertility
- Give up, a lot of overweight/obese women get pregnant and have babies
When you are overweight or obese, the risk of negative health outcomes increases significantly. Excess weight affects your quality of life, but this problem is entirely manageable. You can slim down!
Losing a few pounds will also help you get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy and happy baby. Don’t think that reaching this goal is impossible. Remember, it is possible to lose weight with a healthy lifestyle and all you need is strong willpower.
Communicate with your significant other, seek family support, and consult your doctor about this important time of your life. Good luck!
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