How weight loss can improve conception and pregnancy outcomes.
A 2014 study of overweight and obese women found that those who lost at least 10% of their starting weight had higher rates of conception (88% vs. 54%) and live birth (71% vs. 37%) than women who did not achieve this level of weight loss.
A BMI within the 19-25 range is considered normal while a BMI in the 25-30 range is considered overweight. A BMI over 30 is considered obese.
A BMI in the obese range may lead to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation problems. The additional fat increases oestrogen which can interfere with ovulation. Most people know that their ovaries produce oestrogen; however, a lot of people don’t know that adipose tissue (fat cells) also produces some oestrogen. When you’re at a healthy body weight, you have a higher probability of producing an appropriate amount of oestrogen, but when you’re overweight or obese, your adipose tissue produces more oestrogen than necessary—which can prevent regular ovulation.
Being overweight also increases your risk of insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance causes the body to pump out more insulin and this can also have a negative impact on fertility as having a high level of insulin can cause metabolic disturbances that can affect ovulation.
Having a higher BMI also increases the probability of pregnancy-related complications. When it comes to pregnancy, excess weight can cause several complications. These include an increased risk for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, more difficulty with vaginal deliveries, and even an increased rate of miscarriage. The exact mechanisms for increased miscarriage rates among obese and overweight women are not currently known, but endocrine problems like PCOS and insulin resistance might play a role.
Obesity can also affect male fertility and is associated with lower testosterone and impaired sperm quality.
There is some good news for any woman who is overweight or obese and trying without success to get pregnant. Data shows a weight loss as small as 5%-10% can improve pregnancy outcomes. Losing as little as 5% of body weight can result in a regular menstrual cycle, increase the frequency of ovulation and improve endocrine systems such as lowering fasting insulin levels. Nutritional Therapy is an effective therapy to help you lose weight and to sustain this weight loss.
HOW NUTRITIONAL THERAPY CAN ASSIST WITH WEIGHT LOSS
During a nutritional therapy consultation, we will look for the root causes that could be contributing to your excess weight. As we are all biochemically unique a personalised approach is the best approach in order to achieve the best results. Together we will go through your medical history in detail, to get an additional insight in to what may be driving your weight gain.
We will look at your life as a whole, your diet and lifestyle including any triggers, habits or patterns that may be affecting your weight, such as cravings for example. Weight loss is not just about calories and exercise; it is about hormonal balance, gut and metabolic health. Prior to your first consultation we will ask you to complete a food diary. This diary will help your therapist to identify links between the food you eat and your symptoms, as well as potential nutritional needs if your diet is low in certain nutrients.
With all of this information your therapist will put a bespoke plan in place to address the areas identified. The plan will provide a gradual and phased approach to forming healthier habits rather than a sudden overhaul of your diet with unrealistic restrictions. It will also provide advice on safe and useful supplements (including a 10/20% discount) to assist you to achieve your goals. Email and phone support is available enabling you to ask questions between appointments. Advice will also be provided on other lifestyle measures you can take to support your wellbeing. This process allows the practitioner to build a relationship with you, while providing you with the one to one support, guidance and accountability that everyone benefits from when making lasting lifestyle changes.
I am a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist and a full member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (Registered Nutritionist mBANT). I am registered in Nutritional Therapy with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), the only register for Nutritional Therapy recognised by the government and NHS. This means I am obliged to abide by their strict Code of Ethics.
· Diploma in Nutrition (Nutritional Therapist), College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in London.
· Registered Nutritionist mBANT - British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy
· Registered Nutritional Therapist CNHC - Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, the only register for Nutritional Therapy recognised by the government and NHS.
Following a good fertility diet is beneficial for everyone when trying to conceive, whether naturally or embarking on fertility treatment such as IVF. Using a holistic approach we can work together to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes that will increase your chances of success and a healthy pregnancy.
A good fertility diet can provide the correct raw materials to support egg and sperm quality. It can also support imbalances such as nutrient deficiencies, improving hormonal balance and reduce inflammation. It can take three months for eggs to mature before ovulation, and similarly three months for sperm to develop. While it is important to take care of our physical health, it is as important to take care of our emotional well-being. There are a number of positive lifestyle choices that you can adopt to improve your chances of conceiving.
A study conducted by the University of Surrey showed that couples with a previous history of infertility who made changes in their lifestyle, diet and took nutritional supplements had an 80 percent success rate.