MAYBE YOU DID NOT KNOW, BUT BEING OVERWEIGHT COUPLED WITH MANY OTHER HEALTH RISKS, MAYBE AFFECTING YOUR FERTILITY, AND REDUCING THE CHANCES OF YOU GETTING PREGNANT. IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH FERTILITY, YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK YOUR BODY MASS INDEX
In our African society, women who are thick or fat are considered more attractive. This coupled with increased urbanization and westernization(less physical activity and access to sugary and fastfoods) has caused more women and girls to put on excess weight in other to meet up to these standards placed by men forgetting the implications it has on their health and fertility. Statistics from 2004 show that 60% of urban, West African women are either overweight or obese and the number has been rising ever since. This has also greatly affected fertility rate over the years as we see more couples and women struggling to get pregnant. This could have other causes such as untreated STDs, overuse of contraceptives, severe abortions etc but the most neglected of which is one of the most important is body weight.
How can I tell if I’m ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’?
Common measure of whether a person is ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ is the body mass index or BMI. You calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres. The BMI calculator can be downloaded from appstores on your phone or calculated by your doctor. A healthy BMI is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9. Having a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered ‘overweight’ and a BMI over 30 is considered ‘obese’.
On the other hand, low body mass index, especially if it is combined with the stress and unhealthy lifestyle, can disrupt the hormonal balance, and often cause irregular or complete absence of menstruation.
If you are trying to conceive, keep your body mass index within the normal range. Of course, any strict diets are not recommended because they can reduce the body with nutrients and thus affect fertility, but you should practice a healthy lifestyle. Losing even a few kilos can make a difference. The father’s weight can also affect your chances of getting pregnant.
A woman who is obese is more than twice as likely to have a miscarriage as a woman of healthy weight. There is twice the risk that her baby will not survive.
Infants born to obese women are more likely to be large for their age, need neonatal intensive care or have a congenital abnormality.
So dear ladies if you are trying to concieve and finding difficulties, its time for you to make some lifestyle changes especially getting that body weight in check inorder to increase chances of you getting pregnant. If you dont have time to exercise, a daily routine of 30 minutes of brisk walking and reduced intake of daily calories of minimum 200, will lose 15 pounds in a year (a little more than 1 kg per month).