Research has suggested that a person’s weight can impact their level of fertility and their ability to conceive naturally.

Just a 5% decrease in weight for a person who is overweight can dramatically increase their chances of conception.

For many couples trying for a baby can be a difficult and agonising time. You may be spending time working on your ovulation charts, trying the latest craze of ‘conception diet’ or even trying that crazy positon that your work colleague’s neighbour swears by.  But for you, nothing seems to be working. Sometimes the answer can be simple but is often overlooked. Have you looked at your lifestyle and diet?

Your diet and ultimately your weight can have a huge impact on your chances of conceiving naturally.

Women with a BMI over 25 are classed as overweight and this can have a massive impact on fertility levels. Being overweight is associated with hormonal and endocrine conditions that decrease fertility, including insulin resistance, excess testosterone and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).

Women who are overweight can take longer to fall pregnant and have a higher risk of:

  • Miscarriage
  • Hypertension
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Premature birth
  • Stillborn babies

Being underweight can be just as damaging as being overweight when it comes to getting pregnant.

Studies suggest that women with a low BMI (below 18.5) can also have trouble conceiving.  Many underweight women have irregular periods and produce lower levels of oestrogen, this all has a huge impact on their ability to conceive naturally. There’s also evidence to suggest that if your body fat is too low then it may disrupt the flow of hormones to the brain, preventing you from releasing an egg each month.

Also a person who is underweight may not be consuming enough calories in their diet and this may result in a lack of certain nutrients which are important to aid conception and keep mum healthy while pregnant.

So what’s the answer?

When a women is thinking of having a baby it is important that she looks at her lifestyle and changes she can make to help her.

The good news is that with some small changes – eating healthy and engaging in regular exercise, quitting smoking and decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed, you can work towards a healthier weight and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

The main thing to remember is that a healthy balanced diet can provide you with the correct amount of energy and nutrients to help support the body through the process of conception and pregnancy.

You can also support your body by making sure you are receiving adequate levels of folate, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids and iron. Each of these are essential to aid in conception and to help the body support a healthy baby afterwards.

If you need help with your diet or support to reach a healthy weight or advice on nutrients needed to aid conception and support a healthy pregnancy then get in contact for a confidential consultation with our nutrition adviser today. Sam is qualified in both pre and post-natal nutrition and can advise and help you with healthy changes you can make to your lifestyle.