Can you get pregnant if you are being overweight?
Without thinking about it too much we tend to think conceiving just is a simple matter.That is the fun part; making love with your partner.
That is the fun part; making love with your partner.
Well, that is important, but for conception to occur a precise coordination of many other key events, actions and hormones must take place. It’s not quite as complicated as getting a 767 clear for takeoff, but it’s not far off either.
A delay or a problem in any one step can block conception or make it even more unlikely than it already is.
For example, too much of one hormone produced here, or too little of another there, and the whole system is thrown out of kilter and Bingo!, no conception this month. The worst of it is when we have personal habits, things we do every day or do regularly, that throw our reproductive process off balance.
This is what is often behind the dreaded diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. No obvious fertility hindering condition is visible in either partner yet you are still unable to conceive.
You see, a lot of things are going on behind the scenes in our bodies that we may not be paying much attention to, yet nevertheless affect our fertility.
Take a simple example, in our regular day to day life we may not pay too much attention to our diet, and as a result become overweight.
Being overweight is never good, but when you are trying to conceive its even worse because it actually begins to interfere with your reproductive processes.
That’s right … simply carrying more fat on your body can prevent you from conceiving and becoming pregnant.
Doesn’t seem possible, does it?
Let’s look at fat a little more closely and see how it affects our reproductive processes.
When we think of body fat we tend to think of it as just storage tissue. Well, it’s anything but just storage tissue. In fact, fat cells churn out a variety of hormones and cell-signaling molecules known as cytokines.
The most abundant protein they make is called adiponectin. This protein helps switch on the chemical pathways that actually burn fats. Adiponectin also helps make cells more sensitive to insulin, which enhances ovulation. Curiously though, the more weight you gain the less adiponectin your fat cells make. This drop-off in adiponectin is why overweight people tend to be resistant to insulin.
Resistance to insulin is what is behind PCOS, a common cause of infertility.
The chief feature of PCOS is an insensitivity to the signals insulin gives to cells to absorb blood sugar. When you are insulin resistant you need more and more insulin produced to absorb the blood sugar you need. This overproduction of insulin touches off an ever-increasing set of unhealthy metabolic changes.
Whether it’s from PCOS or just being overweight, too much insulin leads to a derangement of sex hormones that can stop ovulation dead in its tracks.
When you have chronically high levels of insulin, this stimulates the overproduction of male hormones. High insulin levels also block the liver from making “sex hormone binding globulin” (this is a protein that binds to sex hormones to make sure they go to the specific place they are intended and not just act on everything around them). When there are normal levels of “sex hormone binding globulin” testosterone levels decrease.
But when the amount of “sex hormone binding globulin” in circulation decreases, the more androgens (like testosterone) appear in the bloodstream and the more they exert their effects on a variety of different tissues.
In the case of testosterone, the ovaries contain cells known as Theca cells. Theca cells convert cholesterol into testosterone and other androgens.
Under normal circumstances, these small amounts androgens are responsible for the monthly growth and early stage maturation of ovarian follicles.
When women have PCOS, however, or high levels of insulin from being overweight, Theca cells go into overdrive producing androgens. What would normally be a trickle of testosterone in the ovaries now turns into a flood? This excess of testosterone hurries the follicles to the brink of development and then abruptly shuts them down.
The result? No egg is released.
Not only is no egg released, these excess androgens now in circulation stimulate the growth of body hair, acne, and the thinning of hair on your scalp.
Not nice, however, you look at it.
But remember, this whole cascade of negative consequences came about initially from a resistance to insulin.
Remember adiponectin, the protein produced by fat cells? It turns on the chemical pathways that burn fats and helps make cells more sensitive to insulin.
But adiponectin has this funny way of working.
The more weight you gain the less adiponectin your fat cells produce.
Conversely, the more weight you lose the more adiponectin your fat cells produce. This, in turn, helps burn more fat, and as more weight is lost, even more, adiponectin is produced. As adiponectin levels in circulation increase, your cells become more sensitive to insulin and “insulin resistance” fades.
So if you are overweight, because of PCOS or otherwise, you can see now how losing even a little bit of weight can do wonders for your fertility! Of course, the more weight you lose the better, but even a loss of say, 5% of your starting weight can make a big difference. Do you know about Vitrification Of Eggs: A Good Idea To Preserve Your Fertility
If you were 180 lbs, for example, if you shed just 9 lbs, this modest loss of weight would improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, lower levels of male hormones like testosterone, improve your menstrual regularity and ovulation, as well as clear up acne and reduce excess facial and body hair.
Losing weight is not easy, especially if you have PCOS, but diet is a key component and exercise is absolutely essential. 3 Effective Tips For Getting Pregnant Fast
Studies in this area have shown that any weight loss at all improves reproductive function, so the particular weight loss program you use doesn’t matter, as long as it works.
Are you at your ideal weight? Do you have any weight left over?
The BMI or Body Mass Index is a value that determines the weight range in which we find ourselves. With a calculation that relates our weight and height we can determine if you are within the normal weight, or if, on the contrary, you suffer from over-pressure, obesity or thinness.
To determine your BMI, you can use our BMI Calculator. BMI between 18.5 to 24.5 to be ideal.
This information does not replace professional healthcare, it is always advisable to maintain a control guided by the doctor or dietician. Read How To Prepare Your Body Within 30 Days Before Getting Pregnant.
If you are not one for weight loss programs follow some basic guidelines:
- Eliminate processed foods and those high in saturated fats, junk food and deep fried food from your diet
- void carbohydrate “bombs” like pasta and corn chips
- Avoid sugar explosions like soda pop and beer and minimize rapidly digested carbs to help keep your blood sugar and insulin under control and reduce cravings include more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts in your diet to keep your blood sugar in check
- Eat whole grain foods that are digested slowly at most meals
- Have a glass of milk or some other full cream dairy food 1-2 times each day
- Eat red meat sparingly, fish and poultry instead
- Snack on nuts, dried fruit
- Eat fruit 2-3 times daily, and vegetables in abundance at meal times
There are many fertility factors (Did You Know That Stress Can Affect Your Fertility?) but a diet and exercise regime that keeps your weight in check is one of the big ones. Eat sensibly, go for a brisk walk each night, bring your weight come down and watch your fertility improve.
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