As mentioned in previous posts about fertility and weight, it is important to have healthy weight and waist size when trying to conceive. It is important to address dietary and lifestyle issues in order to be in health weight and waist range before trying to conceive.
Healthy Waist Size
Healthy waist range for a woman is 80cm (from the belly button around)
Healthy waist range for a man is 94cm (from the belly button around)
If a woman’s waist size is about 88cm and a man’s waist size if above 102cm then they are in what we call “metabolic syndrome”
This increases their chances of diabetes, heart disease, depression, gynaecological conditions (PCOS, endometriosis etc), sperm issues, egg quality issues, reproductive issues, increased miscarriage, increased risk of certain cancers and of course…. infertility.
Body fat and how it affects fertility
Excess body fat (now known as obestrogens) can disrupt hormones and fertility and can have a negative effect on egg and sperm quality.
Similarly being underweight and low body fat can affect fertility outcomes too. Body fat has a regulatory role in reproduction and a moderate loss of fat, from 10% to 15% below normal weight for height, may delay the menstrual cycle, completely stop the menses altogether and inhibit ovulation. Both dieting and excessive exercise can reduce body fat below the minimum amount and lead to infertility. But this is reversible with weight gain, increased body fat and reduction of intensive exercise, or both.
A moderate reduction in body fat, not just weight, for those overweight, can increase fertility and chances of pregnancy exponentially. Similarly an increase in body fat for those that are underweight, and who don’t have enough body fat, can increase their fertility and chances of pregnancy as well.
This goes for men too. Increased body fat, or not enough body fat can affect hormone production and fertility and can affect sperm quality and sperm production.
This is why preconception care and healthy screening and weight and waist management is so important before trying to conceive. This should also be a part of any fertility program and is definitely part of my fertility program for all couples.
Are you in healthy waist range?
Dr Andrew Orr
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Medicine
-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate