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Weight and Fertility
Many OB/GYNs describe labor as being just as strenuous as running a marathon. An athlete wouldn't avoid training for a 26-mile run; why wouldn’t a hopeful mom-to-be prepare her body for nine months of pregnancy, labor, and, of course, caring for a newborn afterward.
Before conception, it makes sense for women — and men — to get in shape, especially when studies are showing that weight can play a hefty role in fertility. Extra pounds can interfere with a woman's hormones, leading to such conditions as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and causing problems with fertility.
The good news is that losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can increase your chances of having a baby.
What is a healthy weight? Doctors review numbers on the scale, as well as body fat, to determine a weight right for you. For women, a healthy body fat range falls between 25 to 31 percent. To determine your body fat, there are a variety of measurement tools available, such as calipers that pinch the skin, electromagnetic pulses that run through the body, and a review of body measurements in inches, including the abdomen, waist, hips, neck and height.
Another approach is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a simple equation based on height and weight. This tool is often a doctor’s first indication of any potential weight-related health issues and can help you determine if you are over or under weight. A healthy range is between 18 and 25.
To determine your BMI:
- Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
- Divide the total by your height in inches.
- Divide the total again by your height in inches.
Achieve Your Goal Weight
Through diet and exercise, you can get your body to its healthy range. In order to lose a pound per week, you would need to cut 500 calories per day either through diet, exercise or both.
Trimming 250 calories and increasing exercise to burn 250 calories per day isn’t as difficult as it appears: little changes make a big impact. For example, if you drink colas, one can has 100 empty calories. By switching to water or even a diet cola, you’ve already cut 100 calories per day. Fitting in exercise can be simple, as well. A 60-minute walk can burn approximately 250 calories for an average woman, and increasing the intensity level by jogging, biking or swimming increases the calories burned.
Just follow the simple mantra: calories in — calories burned, and you’ll be on your way to weight loss success.