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Your Weight & Infertility: What's the Connection?

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

You must have heard people saying while planning a pregnancy, ''You have to consider a healthy diet and regular exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight to boost your fertility.'' Commonly, a healthy weight may mean different ways to different people.



Have you ever wondered why body weight matters when it comes to conception?

How your weight matters in fertility

Certainly, your weight matters. In fact, being overweight or obese can cause problems with hormone levels in both men and women.

For men, it can reduce the quality, count and motility of sperm and cause erection problems. A study says, for men attaining a healthy weight at best three months before conception can increase the fertility rate. Since sperm takes about three months to develop and remain in the healthy weight range.

While in women, being overweight can cause hormonal imbalances and affect their menstrual cycle, ovulation, and the quality of their eggs.  Obesity is often combined with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) a common reason for low fertility or infertility.

Further, it can also reduce the women’s and men’s libido.

Men being underweight may have poor semen quality and infertility issues.

In women, being underweight can affect the production of oestrogen in the body. This can cause irregular menstrual cycles, further affecting the ovulation cycles as well. Added weight-related problems that disturb the endocrine and metabolic systems can also lead to infertility.

Now let’s have a detailed analysis of healthy weight to boost fertility.

The ideal weight for conception

The ideal weight for conception depends upon your body mass index (BMI) a number based on your height and weight. The healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9, grown-ups with a BMI between 25 and 29 are considered overweight and BMI over 30 defines obesity. However, the ideal weight for conception differs.

How to calculate BMI?

In the metric system, the formula for BMI is

Formula: weight (in kgs) / [height (m)] 2

The weight in kilograms is divided by height in meters squared.

As height is generally measured in centimetres, an alternate calculation formula is:

[Weight (in kgs) / height (cm) 2] x 10,000

Dividing the weight in kilograms by the height in centimetres squared and then multiplying the result by ten thousand (10,000), you can get your BMI.

Slight weight loss can increase fertility

Good news from a research says that a little weight loss, as much as 5%-10%, can increase fertility. Some changes in dietary and lifestyle can limit weight gain and boost fertility as well.

Preparing for conception:

If you are planning to conceive, start a healthy diet and exercise strategy to reach a healthy weight and thereby improve your fertility levels and have a healthy baby.

Guidelines for a healthy weight:

• Create a realistic weight goal to help yourself stay motivated and active.

• Targeting a half to one kilogram of weight loss for a week is a good goal.

• Set regular physical activities like walking for half an hour with your spouse or a friend, aerobics, salsa, and zumba.

• Be on the move. Avoid sitting for a long time while using a computer or watching television. Swap screen time for other physical activities like gardening, dancing, walking to the shops, using the stairs.

• Say no to mobile phones in bed.

• Have a good night’s sleep of 7-8 hours. Very few hours or too many hours can adversely affect fertility.

• Stress can negatively affect a healthy weight. As a stress buster, practise meditation, yoga and Pranayama.

• Interchange sugary drinks for water.

• Choose healthier foods like salads with more fruits and veggies.

• Have a bigger breakfast.

• Opt for a smaller plate to minimise your portion sizes.

• Go for healthy snacks like fruits, dry fruits, energy bars or low-fat yoghurt.

Being overweight or underweight plays a significant role in getting pregnant. The importance of healthy weight (pre-pregnancy weight reduction or addition) should be well understood before planning for conception.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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