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How being obese could be destroying your chances of getting pregnant

It’s common knowledge that being obese – or even overweight – leads to a whole host of health problems, but did you know that this also sabotages your chances of getting pregnant? In this article, we tell you all you need to know about the link between obesity and infertility, and give you tips on how to reverse obesity.

How do I know if I am overweight or obese?

According to guidelines by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, individuals with Body Mass Indexes (BMI) over 23 are overweight, and those with BMIs over 27.5 are obese. In addition to this, women with waist circumferences of 80cm and above are seen to have excessive fat content which puts them at higher risk of diseases; the same goes for men with waist circumferences of 90cm and above.

How does being overweight or obese affect fertility?

For men, excessive fat deposits act to increase oestrogen levels, whilst reducing testosterone levels. This essentially suppresses the production of sperm and leads to a lower sperm count; in many cases, it also contributes to erectile dysfunction.

For women, the exact mechanism of how obesity affects fertility isn’t clear, but several studies have produced conclusive results showing that obesity does indeed result in lower fertility. One such example is a study conducted by Jan Willem van der Steeg from Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center.

This study, involving 3,029 couples, specifically looked at couples who were ovulating properly, had functioning fallopian tubes, and normal semen analyses. According to the results, women who were severely obese (with a BMI of 30 and above) were 43% less likely to conceive as opposed to normal-weight women, or overweight women.

What is the best way to reverse obesity?

It boils down to a simple concept: as long as your calorie output is more than your calorie intake, you’ll lose weight. In trying to achieve this, pay attention to the following three tips that will help you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner:

#1: Watching what you eat after workouts

Plenty of overweight or obese individuals put in an intense session at the gym, feel good about their accomplishment, and then reward themselves with a plate of mee goreng or takeout from McDonald’s on the way home. This is counter-productive – you’re essentially consuming all the calories you’ve just burnt (and probably more!)

How do you get around this? Discipline yourself to eat moderately after your gym sessions – if you can’t do so, you’d be better off reducing the intensity of your workouts, so that you won’t feel the urge to eat such a heavy meal afterwards.

#2: Steering clear of “fake” healthy foods

You’ve steeled your resolve and gotten rid of all the Coca-Cola and soft drinks in your house – but did you know that fruit juice contains just as much sugar?

Here’s how it works: when you eat a whole fruit, you typically stop at one, because it takes more effort to chew through it, digest the fibre, and so on. However, when you drink a glass of 100% apple juice, you’re consuming the equivalent of 3-4 apples at one go. One glass of apple juice contains approximately 7 teaspoons of sugar – which is as much sugar as you’d get from the same amount of Coca-Cola. Who would have thought?

Although losing weight will definitely help you boost fertility, don’t rush into it and go overboard. According to Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, individuals with BMIs above 23 should aim to lose approximately 10-15% of their body weight over six months – so use this guideline, and slowly work towards it.

#3: Filling your plate with more protein instead of carbohydrates

Many of the carbs that we’re accustomed to having – white bread, white rice, and pasta – are quickly converted into glucose once they’re digested, and cause spikes in our blood sugar. Instead of loading up on calorie-intensive carbs which will make you feel sluggish after your meal, it’s much wiser to have more protein instead.

Free 45 minute fertility consultation

If you and your partner would like to learn how to come up with a personalized action plan that will help you to increase fertility levels, Be Natural is offering a free 45 minute consultation with our Fertility Coach, Marie. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!

+65 3165 2202

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