Obesity

Losing weight before conception

Weight loss before baby: Princeton IVF blog
weight-loss-pregnancy-rates.jpg

This time of year is a time when many couples who are having trouble conceiving decide it’s time to start seeking help. That help could come from the OBGYN, a midwife or a fertility specialist. It’s also a time in the year, after indulging during the holidays, when many of us have a few extra pounds to shed.

For those who are overweight, part of that advice will be to lose weight before conception.

While this may not be easy, there are multiple reasons why weight loss before pregnancy is good advice.

  • Being overweight will reduce the chances of you getting pregnant on your own

  • Being overweight will increase the chances that if you do get pregnant, you will miscarry

  • Being overweight will increase the chances of medical complications during pregnancy such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

  • While diet and exercise during pregnancy can help limit weight gain during pregnancy, it is not likely to reduce the likelihood of pregnancy-related complications such as diabetes and hypertension.

Delaying pregnancy and excess weight are both bad for fertility, so delaying pregnancy for weight loss is balancing two risks.

At what point do the risks of delaying pregnancy offset the benefits of weight loss?

  • According to a recent study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, women in their late 30’s or those have poor ovarian reserve may be best off not delaying childbearing despite the obvious benefits.

The Golden Arches and your Fertility

Fast food and time to conceive: Princeton IVF blog
Eating too much fast food may cause infertility

Can eating too much fast food be making it harder to get pregnant?

New research suggest that eating too much fast processed food may actually lower your chances of getting pregnant, or at least delay the time to conception.

Researchers in Australia decided look at how long it took women to conceive and compared that to how many times a week they consumed fast food and how many times a week they ate fruit. They found that women who had fast food more than 4 times a week took longer to get pregnant than those who had it 2-4 times a week, who in turn took longer than those who did not consume fast food. The exact opposite was true with eating fruit. Those women who ate fruit regularly got pregnant faster than those who did not. Interestingly, green leafy vegetables and fish conception did not speed up the time to conception.

So, what does this mean if I am trying to get pregnant.

Lay off the fast food.

Despite, the title of this post, in all fairness to McDonald’s, this is not unique to to the golden arches or any other hamburger joints. This also applies to fried chicken from the Colonel, the forth meal at Taco Bell, the greasy Chinese food place at the mall and any number of fast food restaurants. Processed, high calorie, high salt, high carbohydrate food may taste good and be quick and convenient, but it may make it harder to get pregnant. They are also not great for your health or the baby’s.

Eat whole foods.

That does not mean go to one of Amazon Inc.’s high priced supermarkets. It means avoiding processed foods, like those that are served at fast food places.

Eat fruit.

Your grandmother was right. Most fruits are good for your fertility and health.

Green leafy vegetables are still good for your pregnancy.

Even if this study did not show a benefit to speeding up the time to conception, the folic acid in these veggies can help reduce your baby’s risk of birth defects such as spina bifida.

The oils in fish is also good for your pregnancy and it may reduce the rates of some complications.

Many prenatal vitamins contain fish oils. Just be wary of getting too much mercury from large ocean fish.

Your weight and your fertility

Your weight can affect your fertility: Princeton IVF blog
Being overweight can make it take longer to get pregnant in both men and women.

If either partner is overweight, it can harm your fertility

It has been know for for years that women who are overweight have a lower chance for success for IVF, and most fertility specialists encourage their patients who are overweight, to lose weight if possible, before treatment. So, the next logical questions is this: Does being overweight affect your chances of getting pregnant on your own even if you do not have infertility?

A study by National Institutes of Health (NIH) addressed that particular issue. The study was called the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study and they looked at couples who were both normal and with various degrees of being overweight to see how long it took them to conceive, commonly referred to as TTC. They looked about 500 couples from Texas and Michigan  and broke them down into 4 groups, normal weight (BMI 18-25), overweight (BMI 25-25), class I (BMI 30-34.9) and class II (BMI 35 and higher).  

The researchers found that in couples with class II obesity ( BMI > 35), it took 55% more time to conceive, than in normal weight couples.

It means that being significantly overweight not only affects your chances for pregnancy with fertility treatments such as IVF, it also makes it more difficult to conceive on your own.