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5 ways obesity affects your chances of getting pregnant

Trying to get pregnant but can't get results? Check your weight, obesity can affect conception in a big way.

Shilpi Sachdeva who is in her early 30s, a housewife, had been trying to get pregnant for the past two years with no results. The Sachdeva couple decided to consult an IVF specialist for help after repeated failed attempts in conceiving. At the IVF clinic, after testing, the results showed that Shilpi had developed abnormalities in her eggs that made them impossible to fertilise and that made it impossible for her to conceive. And the reason for it? Obesity.

Sadly, Shilpi is not alone. According to an ICMR bulletin, it is estimated that globally around 60 to 80 million couples suffer from infertility every year, of which probably 15 to 20 million are in India alone. Also 10 percent of the couples in the country get affected by infertility due to obesity. If you are obese and planning a pregnancy it is wise to make weight loss the first priority in your planning phase, says Dr Shobha Gupta IVF Expert from Mothers Lap IVF centre, New Delhi. Not only does obesity make getting pregnant a challenge, it's also a hurdle for conception. Here are ways how obesity can come in the way of getting pregnant:

It increases the risk of infertility:Obesity is one of the prime causes that affects ovulation and fertility by altering the normal hormonal patterns in a woman. This in turn affects the normal functioning of the ovaries. It gives rise to infrequent or irregular menstrual cycles, disturbing the normal ovulation phase. Also fat deposition in the abdomen of a woman is known to produce male hormones that prevent follicular maturisation and results in anovulation (decreased ovulation).

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It makes fertility treatments less of a success: An IVF treatment in an obese women have less success rate than that performed on a non-obese women. One needs to lose substantial amount of weight to make an IVF treatment a success.

It increases chances of miscarriages: Even if nature makes it possible to conceive despite weighty issues, nurturing the baby can still be a risk. Obesity triples the chance of still birth and miscarriage in women. A miscarriage in an obese woman can make it difficult for her to conceive a second time.

It can lead to PCOS: Obesity can cause overproduction of insulin which may cause irregular ovulation too. There is also a link between obesity, excess insulin production and the infertility condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a specific medical condition associated with irregular menstrual cycles, anovulation (decreased or stopped ovulation), obesity and elevated levels of male hormones.

It can also lead to other lifestyle-related issues: It is generally noticed that obese people also end up having one or the other lifestyle related issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, have high cholesterol levels etc. All these health issues clubbed together makes conceiving a challenge for women with higher waistlines.

What you can do:

Lose weight before you plan your pregnancy: If you know that you are overweight try and control your weight. 'A 15 percent weight loss can also help and aid in conceiving without any treatment or medication. Women with PCOD if they managetheir weight well would not need any medications to conceive and can sail smoothly during pregnancy too, says Dr Gupta. Brisk walking, aerobic exercise and aqua workouts there are a number of options to choose from for beginners, that is low impact and yield results soon.

Give up your vices: Smoking and drinking along with weight issues can come in the way of a healthy pregnancy and conception. If you have any of these vices it s advisable to give it up soon for the sake of a healthy pregnancy.

Eat a balanced diet: Make sure you don't miss out on your breakfast, lunch and dinner and include two snacks in between the meals. Reduce your intake of food or drinks that contain high levels of sugar and fat. Eat more fruits, green leafy vegetables and salads.

Consult an IVF specialist: If you have tried everything and followed your weight loss regimen and diet alterations with discipline visit an IVF specialist to check on your health status and chances of getting pregnant.

Check on your partner s health: Though obesity can come in the way of your conception. Don t forget that your partner s health status is equally important while planning a pregnancy. If your partner suffers from the same predicament as your -- being overweight, ask him to lose weight, seek consultation with a specialist and follow lifestyle changes to up your chances of getting pregnant.

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