The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in India, with almost the same percentage in men and women. According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) statistics, the prevalence of obesity among Indians increased in 2019-21 compared to 2015-16. Nearly one out of every four people is overweight in the country. Obesity is measured using the BMI (Body Mass Index). According to this, BMI of more than 30 is considered to be obese, while a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered as overweight.
Obesity is a health condition that gives birth to a number of other diseases. It is a disorder in which a person gets excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. One of the major causes behind obesity is higher calory intake as compared to calory burnout. According to The Lancet journal, India ranks among the top five countries in the world for having the most obese population.
The link between obesity and infertility
Overweight and obese women have a higher incidence of menstrual dysfunction, anovulation and are also at high risk for reproductive health. Women, when obese, produce a higher level of hormone called leptin that disrupts the tissues and lead to infertility in women. This problem is seen one in every 5 women during their reproductive age. On the other hand, overweight men are 11% more likely to have low sperm count and 39% to have no sperm. If the problem is diagnosed at an early age, it can be timely.
Health risks of obesity:
Diabetes Type 2
Reproductive health problems
Ways to increase your chances of conceiving
Understand your menstrual cycle: Having an elaborate understanding of one’s menstrual cycle is very important to ensure conception. The first day of menstruation is the first day of your cycle. Ovulation usually occurs on fourteenth day of menstrual cycle, around this time is the best to try for conception. The ovulation period may differ from woman to woman. Knowing your menstrual cycle properly will help you to determine the most fertile days.
Medical Tests: Getting a pre-conception check-up is one of the most important steps that can increase your chances of conception. Before you officially start trying, it is important to rule out medical disorders that might affect conception and pregnancy. Supplements of folic acid and other prenatal vitamins will help in the healthy development of the baby and prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida (split spine). Besides that, blood tests for the hormones, like test for thyroid hormone, prolactin, AMH, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone are also required.
Add multivitamins: The nine-month-long journey of pregnancy is not easy for a woman. Pregnancy leads to several physical and emotional changes. This increases the demand for nutrients to stay healthy and fit. Besides, nutrients are also required to meet the demand of the growing baby inside the womb. So, women need to increase their multivitamin intake such as Vitamin D and E to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your IVF specialist and increase the intake of multivitamins and folic acids which help in conception.
Manage your weight: If you or your partner have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI), take steps to manage your weight. Excess weight is an adverse factor for those trying to conceive. Regular exercise and lifestyle changes are important for weight reduction and increasing the chances of conception. Metabolic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes are important and are also related with high body mass index and weight and should be under control for conception as well as for continuation of pregnancy.
Eat a healthy balanced diet: Healthy and nutritious diet is very important for good reproductive health. You should avoid junk and fatty food items. You should take in plenty fresh leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats for a better outcome.
About the author: Dr. Vinita Das, is a consultant at Birla Fertility & IVF. All views/opinions expressed in the article are of the author.