There’s no question that a woman’s body weight can affect her chances of becoming pregnant. If you are obese, fat cells can produce enough estrogen to interfere with your ability to conceive. High estrogen levels tell your brain to stop stimulating the development of follicles and as result, ovulation doesn’t occur. This is common in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (refer to chapter 19 for more on this disorder). Studies show that losing weight can lead to pregnancy. When obese women lose excess body weight, ovulation resumes, making conception possible.
Weighing too little is not healthy either. Menstruation occurs at a critical level of “fatness.” If you lose too much weight, or you are already thin, your body fat diminishes and hormone levels are affected; this, in turn, can lead to the inability to ovulate.
In chapter 2, “Weight Control and Food Sensitivities” I give you tools to assess your body weight. Find out if you are at a healthy weight. If you are overweight and have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), follow my weight loss recommendations and meal plan presented there. Even if you don’t have PCOS, these are healthy strategies for any overweight woman.
If you are underweight, read my guidelines for a healthy woman’s diet in chapter
1. Incorporate some of these suggestions to make sure you are getting enough calories and nutrients in your daily diet. If you recognize that your low body weight is caused by an eating disorder, read chapter 13, “Eating Disorders,” for information on how to begin your recovery process.