Day 9 - Exercise, BMI & Fertility

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I am so grateful to have some great contributors to the 31 Day Fertility Care Challenge. 

Today's post is written by my fellow colleague and Creighton Model Practitioner, Megan Faller. 

Megan is located in Southern California and is co-director of Restore Fertility Care Services.

We all know that our fat stores can impact our health. 

Not suprisingly, studies have shown that a woman's body mass index (BMI) can impact her fertility. 

Too little fat and too much, are both impediments to optimal fertility. 

Potential issues include

Low BMI

  • Too little estrogen
  • Have too little body fat can impede ovulation
  • Short luteal  or post peak phase

High BMI

  • Excess estrogen
  • Egg quality issues due to insulin issues

If you are in the lower BMI category, you want to consider the follwowing:

  • Are you missing meals?
  • How nourishing are your meals?
  • Do you remember to keep healthy snacks on hand?
  • How is your stress level?
  • Are your workouts generally strenuous?  If so, you may want to trade some of the highter impact workouts for walking, swimming, or Pilates.

If you are in the higher BMI category, you may want to ask yourself:

  • What can you do to increase your activity levels?
  • Are your calories coming from processed or sugary foods?
  • Can you exchange less healthy foods and drinks for ones that are more nutritious and filling?

If you fall in the normal weight category:

  • Statistically speaking you are in a good place for health and fertility
  • It is recommended that you still ask yourself the above questions related to other BMI categories
  • What changles can you implement to ensure that you remain at a normal BMI?

Additionally, it has been found that women with a BMI under 25 benefit more from low impact activity (gardening, walking, golf, etc), while vigorous activitiy was actually detrimental to their fertility. 

This is likely, in part, due to the impact the exercise has on their cortisol levels.  For women with BMIs over 25, their fertility health generally benefits from any activity, low, moderate or high.

Of course, each woman has her own natural, healthy set point for her BMI.  For some women obtaining a BMI of 19 comes after negative health choices, severely restricting calories and over exercise.

And, some women can experience the opposite and make healthy choices but their BMI remains higher than someone who is sedentary and has a diet of low nutrient foods. 

But, generally speaking, these gauges can be helpful in guiding our health and exercise choices as they impact our fertility.  It is also important to note, that your BMI is impacted by more than your choices.

Genes and health conditions can impact your ability to gain or lose weight.  Thyroid conditions, PCOS, and a range of other conditions can make gaining or losing weight feel impossible.  If you are not seeing changes, after implementing some of the above recommendations, plesae consult a health care professional to explore what may be impacting your BMI.

You can calculate your BMI HERE.

Megan Faller, FCP has been a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner for 5 years.  She went through FCP training in Phoenex, AZ in October 2010.  She was drawn to the Creighton Model because of the hope it offers for infertility.  She is co-director of Restore Fertility Care Services located in Southern California where she lives with her husband and two young sons.  She is available for in-person and long distance classes.

Don't forget to Share with others.  If you missed last week's Nutrition Challenges or yesterday's Exercise Challenge, you can find them on the 31 Day Fertility Care Challenge Pinterest Board.