When women are trying to get pregnant, yet are having difficulties, there are a number of factors that can contribute to this, some of which can be improved upon in order to increase the chances of pregnancy.
I will examine these factors, ranging from being too lean, too heavy, too sedentary, smoking, drinking, poor diet, etc… My name is Scott Keppel and I am a nationally certified fitness instructor and, among other specializations, I am certified to train pre and post natal women. I have done this for more than six years and in that time I have written several articles on the topic that have been published and featured on local news stations. I have also trained dozens of women to term. Before starting any exercise and/or diet program consult your physician.
According to Dr. Robert Keith, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System nutritionist, “A BMI (weight divided by (height x height)) less than 20% or above 30 have difficulty getting pregnant." Another way to determine if you are either too lean or have too much fat is to know your body fat percentage. This can be determined by using skin fold measurements (using calipers), dunk test, bio impedance, Bod Pod, etc…
We as humans have essential fat, meaning if you have less than that amount your body may not function properly. For women that percentage is 10-12%. If your body fat percentage is greater than 32% you may also have difficulty getting pregnant. If you think you may be close to any of the above numbers I suggest you get tested. If you’re too lean, you can overcome this by increasing your caloric intake and/or decreasing your aerobic training. I suggest you increase your calories first and do this by adding healthy fats (fish oils, flaxseed oil, avocado, etc…) the fish oils especially will help with brain development of the baby. You can also increase your quality carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, whole grains) and of course, lean protein sources such as chicken, eggs, lean red meat, ground turkey, fish that is low in mercury.
Too much mercury can be dangerous to you and if you are pregnant, the baby. For those women who are at the higher end of the body fat % and/or BMI, I suggest you start trying to lose the excess weight by increasing your aerobic activity, increase resistance training to build more lean mass (1 lb of muscle can burn up to 20-100 calories a day while a lb of fat only burns 8). You should also decrease your saturated fats (butters, red meat, cheese,) fats that are solid at room temperature and consume healthy fats previously listed. Limit your refined carbohydrates (white breads, junk food, sweets, etc.) while increasing your intake of veggies (primarily greens), low glycemic index. fruits (berries, apples, pears, grapes, etc…).