Dr Adaora Ukoh, an Abuja based gynaecologist, on Thursday said being underweight and overweight could cause delay in conception. Ukoh said that if the body’s fat was too low, or high it disrupts the flow of hormones from the brain to the pituitary gland that aids in the hormones for conception. According to her, a woman needs a minimum body fat content of 22 per cent to have normal periods as well as ovulation to be able to conceive. She explained that being overweight could affect a woman’s chances of conception as well as having a healthy baby. She said that being underweight could also reduce a woman’s fertility rate, adding that it could predispose an individual to hormonal imbalance.
"A woman having BMI fewer than 18.5 was considered underweight and BMI more than 20.25 was considered high."
Ukoh also stated that being overweight increases the risk of pregnancy complications as well as health problems for the baby. However, she said there were risks associated with overweight during pregnancy such as miscarriage, hypertension, gestational diabetes and infection, among others.
"A woman who is overweight is more likely to have a delay in conception and miscarriage as against a woman of healthy weight.
"Being underweight or overweight may predispose a woman to lack ovulation as well as menstrual cycle.
"It can also lead to hormonal imbalance in some women thereby causing delay in conception.
"For some people who are underweight gaining weight and maintaining it is difficult, and this also affects their fertility rate and also delays conception.
"Fat deposition in the abdomen of a woman leads to production of male hormones that also prevents follicular maturisation, which results to decreased ovulation and also cause infertility.
"Being overweight also increases chance of miscarriage, irregular ovulation as well as polycystic ovarian syndrome which leads to infertility.
"It also causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure all these issues clubbed together makes conceiving a challenge," she said.
The expert, however, advised women trying to conceive to eat healthy diet such as fruits, vegetables and proteins. She also suggested daily intake of folic acid, iron rich foods such as red meat, whole grain breads as well as green vegetables. Besides, the expert enjoined women trying conception that was overweight to lose some weight, stressing that maintaining healthy weight aids in conception. She added that if underweight, the individual should increase in weight by adding healthy foods and snacks into their diet to help have a healthy weight, saying it makes conception easy. Ukoh further urged women to make life style changes as a key driver towards maintaining a healthy weight if trying to conceive.
Culled from NAN