As women, weight can affect our ability to conceive. BMI (body mass index) is an indirect measure of body fat calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in meters). When trying to conceive, most OBGYNs will tell you that the ideal BMI for women falls somewhere between 20-25. Why? A lot of it has to do with how our fat cells affect sex hormones. You probably already know that your ovaries produce estrogen. But did you know that adipose tissue (fat cells) also produces estrogen?
When you’re in the 20-25 BMI sweet spot, you have a higher probability of producing an appropriate amount of estrogen for conception. Our bodies require a fine balance of hormones to ovulate properly. At ovulation, you need your estrogen levels to rise, helping release the egg from its follicle. However, having too much or too little estrogen can throw things off. Being overweight can mean that your adipose tissues produce more estrogen than necessary, and being underweight can result in your ovaries not making enough estrogen.
If you fall into the “overweight” category and are trying to conceive, you may benefit from starting a healthy weight loss program; but be sure to proceed with caution. Rapid weight loss is never a good idea, but when you’re trying to become pregnant, losing too much weight too quickly can harm fertility as well. Our fat reserves hold not only estrogen, but also toxins and other dangerous compounds; losing weight too quickly can cause these toxins to begin circulating throughout our bodies. Also important to note, while being in the ideal BMI range is important, so is building up your nutrient stores. The preconception period is a time to fill your body with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals by eating the right foods – not by slashing and restricting everything in the name of weight loss.
When starting a weight-loss program, it’s always a good idea to work with a professional. If you are trying to conceive and believe you could benefit from a healthy weight-loss program, send us an email! Our holistic nutritionist Ewa Reid, RHN specializes in female fertility nutrition and can help you reach your goals naturally and healthily. Ask about booking a free 15-minute consultation with Ewa to learn more.