When I speak with experts about how people can improve their fertility, the one thing that keeps coming up again and again is weight. Being either underweight or overweight can dramatically affect both men and women’s chances of conceiving a child. The simplest way to find out if weight is affecting fertility is with a BMI calculator.
Being Overweight and How It Affects Your Fertility
Being overweight, or even worse obese, can affect your natural hormonal balance, which in women can give you irregular menstrual cycles and prevent ovulation and in men, decrease the quality of the sperm you produce.
Being Underweight and How It Affects Your Fertility
On the other hand, if you are underweight, your body goes into starvation mode and when it does this, it tries to conserve its resources. This can prevent a woman’s monthly cycle and stop a man’s sperm production.
How Do I Know If I Am Under or Overweight?
In a world where every 2 in 3 adults is overweight and the media bombards us with images of size zero models, it can be very difficult to judge just what the idea weight is. The easiest way to do this is by working out your Body Mass Index, or BMI for short.
To do this, enter your weight and height into the fertility BMI calculator below.
So What Does That Number You Just Got Mean?
Less than 18.5
You are underweight and need to put on some weight to increase your chances of conceiving a child.
Between 18.5 and 24.9
Congratulations! You are a healthy weight that is ideal for fertility.
Between 25 and 29.9
You are overweight and should consider losing weight in order to maximise your chances of conceiving a child.
Greater than 30
You are obese. Not only will this reduce your chances of conceiving, but you are at a higher risk of other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. I recommend you make an appointment with your doctor so they can professionally assess you and make recommendations specific to your needs.
What Else Should I Consider?
If you are athletic, BMI is not necessarily the best way for you to assess your body weight as it does not take into account muscle and bone mass. For example, bodybuilders or rugby players who have a lot of muscle, their BMI result would actually classify them as overweight, despite having low amounts of body fat. So if you are athletic, a more accurate way of assessing your weight is your body fat percentage.
Body fat percentage is more difficult to work out than your BMI and it is done is by passing an electric current through your body and measuring the electric resistance. Many gyms have machines that can do this for you or you can buy your own home scales if you like, but these tend to be less accurate than the gym ones (unless you are willing to spend a lot of money on them).
The recommended range for body fat percentage is 21-34% for women and 8-22% for men. Anything more or less than this could affect your chances of getting pregnant and you should take steps accordingly.
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BMI Calculator Plugin kindly provided by Health and Fitness Calculators and Calculators Canada