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Fertility Road Magazine 46 - September/October 2018

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The latest issue of Fertility Road Magzine brings you our latest Fertility Journeys update, a closer look at stress and infertility, natural approaches to endometriosis and a how your weight can affect your chances of getting pregnant plus lots, lots more.

BODY Why Weight Can

BODY Why Weight Can Matter It’s Best to Lose Weight Before Trying For a Baby EXPERT: Kathy Payne It's best to manage weight at a healthy level when planning a baby, either naturally or via IVF. It's also best to do it before trying to fall pregnant. That's because being overweight or underweight can affect fertility. Let's talk about weight management for fertility. Weight Can Affect Hormones Women’s hormones need to be in balance for a regular and healthy menstrual cycle. Being overweight or underweight risks hormone imbalances and we start to notice signs, like cycle irregularities and fertility challenges. Fertility and Being Overweight Some studies show that overweight women are more likely to encounter fertility issues. Generally speaking, the more overweight we are, the higher the risk of problems. This is simply because overweight women tend to have more fat cells, than those women who are classed as normal weight. Fat cells produce oestrogen; it’s not just our ovaries! Because fat cells produce oestrogen, overweight women are at higher risk of what’s commonly called “oestrogen dominance”. Oestrogen dominance means too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone i.e. a hormone imbalance. Oestrogen dominance can impact cycle health, ovulation and fertility. Some common signs of too much oestrogen/ not enough progesterone include: • Brain fog and memory issues • Mood swings, irritability and depression • Sleeplessness • Tiredness • Hormonal migraines and other headaches • Hair loss • Thyroid problems • Cold hands and feet • Sore and tender breasts • Abdominal bloating • Weight gain and slower metabolism • Low libido • Period problems • Endometriosis • Fibroids • Infertility and miscarriage Fertility and Being Underweight Being underweight can also be a factor to consider when you’re planning a baby. Underweight women tend to have a lower percentage body fat than women classed as normal weight. Women need a certain amount of body fat to ensure hormone balance and ovulation. If we’re 18 | fertilityroad.com | fertilityroadmag | follow us @fertilityroad

BODY underweight, our bodies “think” there are not enough fat stores for pregnancy, so we are less likely to conceive and run higher risk of miscarriage. It’s not only the underweight who should watch out however, it’s possible for a woman to be average or even above average weight, but still have a low body fat percentage. As an example, let’s look at female elite athletes or women who exercise a lot and hard. Their low body fat and high muscle percentage can cause their periods to become irregular or even stop altogether. BMI is only one measure of weight and health. It’s a useful indicator but it’s not the only measurement to consider because it doesn’t show us the fat/muscle make-up of our bodies. It’s possible to measure that and I’ve found that many gyms have machines to measure fat/muscle; alternatively you could ask your doctor instead. Accepted reference ranges suggest that underweight is a BMI lower than 20. Normal BMI is 20-15. Overweight is a BMI of 25-30. Obese is a BMI of 30- 40 and morbidly obese is over a BMI 40. If weight is a factor for you, there are some things I suggest before trying to conceive. Here are some suggestions: Tips for Managing Weight It's best not to go on a weight loss diet when you're trying to conceive. Sorry, but it much better to lose excess weight first and then try for a baby. Many of my clients, ask me why. The imbalance is usually temporary and maintaining a healthy weight and eating healthily should rebalance any issues over time. Slimming diets - especially very restrictive ones - can cause periods to become irregular and ovulation to stop, because hormone levels drop. Wait until 3-4 months AFTER losing weight to start trying for a baby, if you can. Weight can be a fertility factor for women, because it impacts hormone balance I know this can sound like a very long wait when you really want a baby. I suggest this as a precaution when time is on a woman’s side. Sometimes nutrient levels - including all the really key fertility fuelling nutrients - can be lower after a slimming diet. I therefore recommend boosting nutrient levels if you’ve been on a slimming diet. In my clinic, I use hair mineral tests from a respected Laboratory to help couples identify any mineral deficiencies and also exposure to toxic metals which also impact fertility. I work out what foods and supplements they may need, based on those test results. No faddy diets, please. That’s because you risk robbing your body of nutrients, including the ones needed for fertility and a healthy pregnancy and bouncing baby. It is best to gradually lose weight through a healthy, varied and balance diet. And that includes plenty of healthy fats! | fertilityroadmag | follow us @fertilityroad fertilityroad.com | 19

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Fertility Road Magazine 46 - September/October 2018

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