Life style and Fertility

Dr Richa Sharma
Our body weight has an important role on our chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Its effects are seen not only in female but also has an effect of male fertility potential.This is irrespective of the way of conception- be it natural or through IVF, weight definitely has a direct correlation with the ability to bear a baby.
Impact of Lifestyle:
Life style comprise of all those activities which we do in day to day life starting from eating to sleeping and to add to it the stress of personal and professional life.Ultimately who is the sufferer? Its our own mind and body and all this carry many health consequences, including some reproductive disorders.
What are effects of body weight on ability to have baby ?
Obesity and overweight are common conditions in the these days showing a rising trend due to life style changes besides the hereditary component. There is a very high prevalence of obesity in the infertile population and many studies have highlighted the link between obesity and infertility especially PCOS and its due to the abnormal secretion of other hormones which underlies many reproductive disorders observed in this population.
Ways to know whether our weight is more/less or normal ?
Weight is calculated in proportion to height and is medically described as BMI(Body Mass Index).
The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a statistical measure of body weight based on a person’s weight and height. Though it does not actually measure the percentage of body fat, it is used to estimate a healthy body weight based on a person’s height. Due to its ease of measurement and calculation, it is the most widely used diagnostic tool to identify weight problems within a population, usually whether individuals are underweight, overweight or obese.
Classification of BMI-
WHO classification of obesity :
Category BMI(kg/m2)
Under weight <18.5
Normal weight 18.5-24.9
Overweight 25-29.9
Obesity class 1 30-34.9
Obesity class 2 35-39.9
Obesity class 3 40+
How weight loss improves fertility ?
It has been demonstrated that weight loss can improve the fertility of obese women through the recovery of spontaneous ovulation, whereas others will have improved response to ovarian stimulation in infertility treatment.
In males weight loss helps in sperm production besides balancing the hormone levels in the body.
Therefore, it is proposed that following the initial assessment of infertility and body mass index or other measurement of obesity
Various weight management interventions including
* Life style modifications/Diet/Exercise /
* Pharmacotherapeutic approaches
Life style modification-
First option recommended is- Life style modification
Key to Successful treatment depends on ability to reduce body weight by life- style modifications which include diet modification and exercise.
Stress management also forms an important part of the treatment.
Weight loss helps in improvement in reproductive function which includes menstrual function and fertility. Weight loss before infertility treatment improves ovulation rates in women with PCOS, but there are limited data that it improves fecundity or lowers pregnancy complications.
The ideal amount of weight loss is unknown, but a 5% decrease of body weight might be clinically meaningful.
Besides this what we think and perceive has a lot on all what we plan and achieve.Same applicable to our health and well being.Hence there is role of-
* Psychological intervention
* Behavioral problem, damaged self confidence, increased levels of anxiety & depression benefit with psychological counseling , both individual and group counseling.
(The author is a senior IVF Consultant Gurgaon)