We are aware of the strong connection between obesity & fertility, but what about those who are underweight. Will it impact my fertility?
In this blog, we will address the same concern of being thin & underweight and planning for pregnancy, and how it will affect the chances of fertility.
As we all know, the human body is made up of 5 essential elements. Fat, Protein, Carbohydrate, vitamins & minerals. All these elements along with tissue fluid form the weight of the body.
Protein is the basic component of tissues and is very important for bodily functions. There is a good amount of metabolism happening in the body like the generation of new cells & recycling of the old tissues. This process requires protein for cell development. Excess protein if ingested is stored as fat. The same is the case with carbohydrates. Fats are divided into healthy and unhealthy fats. Unhealthy fats constitute obesity.
Body weight simply means the weight of tissues, muscles, body fluids & blood elements.
The fertility journey is complex and any burden of health conditions can be reduced. One such burden is body weight. Being underweight also impacts the fertility journey.
Weight-driven infertility is just not confined to obesity. What about women with low BMI? Are they not healthy to have conception as a normal healthy person?
Being underweight affects your fertility. Generally speaking, better chances of conception occur with BMI ranging between 20 and 25. Body fat plays an important role in regulating hormones. Being underweight (BMI of 18.5 or less), often causes irregular menstrual cycles and may cause ovulation to stop altogether. Many underweight women cease to have periods due to the low estrogen level.
A BMI of 17.5 or less could point to an eating disorder.
Then, what is the ideal fertility BMI in the case of women?
If you are trying for pregnancy, the ideal BMI range for fertility is 18.5 to 24.9.
Ideal BMI to get pregnant: 18.5 – 24.9
When we achieve the ideal weight to get pregnant, there are numerous health benefits and the most important is reproductive outcomes.
Having periods even though underweight, will I have any issues regarding conceiving?
Having periods when you are underweight does not mean you will have an easy-going pregnancy process.
As the endocrine system is underperforming, it results in irregular ovulation. These underweight women may become pregnant but carry a higher risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth & having low-birth babies.
Loss of adipose tissues subsequently causes hormonal disturbances
Restoration of weight in underweight women often results in the resumption of menses and the resolution of infertility concerns.
Concerns of Underweight Women
Underweight women trying to conceive face a plethora of obstetric complications, which are primarily related to undernutrition for the mother and foetus.
This includes the risk of impaired weight gain by the foetus, intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), preterm delivery, low birth weight, postnatal complications and even an increased risk of chronic diseases in the offspring.
Being underweight directly links to ovulatory dysfunction. There are situations where women who exercise excessively or have a low caloric intake may have irregular menstrual cycles or no periods at all. This is typically due to a disruption in hormones that causes a deficiency of estrogen.
Women with low BMI are at increased risk of amenorrhoea &chronic anovulation may cause infertility.
How it affects my baby when I am underweight during pregnancy?
Babies born to underweight mothers (women with BMIs of 18.5) are at higher risk for health problems, including:
– Premature birth (also referred to as preterm birth)
– or childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy
– Low birth weight (smaller than 2.5 kg). These infants are at risk for health and development problems as they get older.
How to gain healthy weight status from being underweight?
•Try eating smaller & frequent meals by adding snacks into your routine as well.
•increase the use of foods that are rich in nutrients, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins.
•Pay more attention to how & when you’re drinking. Smoothies are better options than diet soda, coffee, and other beverages.
•If drinks decrease your appetite, consider going for it after you eat a meal & 30 min after a meal.
•Get more calories in your meals by adding nuts and seeds as toppings to main dishes.
•Start exercising. You can add muscle by exercising. Working out may also boost appetite and act as a mood enhancer.
Your weight is often an indicator of overall health. Being underweight can be just as detrimental as being overweight. Underweight women are more likely to have miscarriages than healthy-weight women. if you are underweight & planning to undergo IVF, it’s time to know more about how to optimize your likelihood of pregnancy. Weighing every parameter that improves the pregnancy outcome is very important. We at Pearl women’s hospital & Yash IVF are offering tailor-made solutions for underweight patients planning for pregnancies.