Too fit for fertility?

I am writing a feature about the possibility that extreme exercise could compromise fertility - does anyone have any experience of this or views on it? I've been told that a fat percentage of 22% is the minimum for conception so would love to hear from women who have consciously increased their body weight/composition or reduced their running in order to get pregnant.

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Comments

  • You rarely see elite athletes/sportswomen stop because they are pregnant...........you usually see them stop being elite athletes first so that they can get their bodies healthy enough to conceive and carry a child.....

     

  • I'd be really interested to chat with someone who had cut back on their running in order to boost their chances of getting pregnant (I've talked to experts who say sometimes the stress of high level competition and low body fat make conception tricky - it's a fine balance)

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I beat Paula Radcliffe in a 10k when she already had a bun in the oven.  I don't think that answers your questions though.  image

  • Well done Phil! Very pleased for you - but, er, no!!

     

  • " You rarely see top sportswomen stop to get pregnant" thats is true I've never seen an athlete just stop to get pregnant. Would make good TV though.
  • stop competing SR..........0

    yes KK........i believe that whilst those at the the top of the sports may be fit they are not healthy.......to put your body to the extremes needed nowadays to compete I think they are storing up many long term problems......from the extreme training and the fact that theyy take their weight lower than what is natural for them individually.......

    Philpub.....i bet she would have still beaten me.........

     

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    seren nos wrote (see)

     

    Philpub.....i bet she would have still beaten me.........

     

    46 minutes at 6 months gone, if I remember rightly.  image

  • I think it should be compulsory to name your sources otherwise it looks like you are plucking "facts" from thin air
  • I found an old photo of me and Paula this week. 2 days before we ran our first marathon. The rest is history. Me and Paula now have three lovely children.
  • louise atkinson 4 wrote (see)

    I've been told that a fat percentage of 22% is the minimum for conception.... 

    image

    That sounds like something a guy would say when he's forgotten his contraceptives.

  • A quick google- I found them saying a minimum of 13% to 17% with no hard or fast rules. This sounds less specific and more realistic to me. A cut off of 22%? Nah
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
    I think it should be compulsory to name your sources otherwise it looks like you are plucking "facts" from thin air

    Bollocks!  image

    Whaddya know - it's detailed on her Po10 profile.  ("Nike Run London, 2006") A bit quicker than I remember - 43:45.  I ran 40:15 but I CNBA trying to work out whether any full result listings still exist.  image

  • Yes obviously I didn't mean your result Phil. I checked out your Beachy Head 2nd place a long time ago so I know you are good enough to beat Paula on a (very) off day.
  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭
    Tenjiso wrote (see)
    louise atkinson 4 wrote (see)

    I've been told that a fat percentage of 22% is the minimum for conception.... 

    image

    That sounds like something a guy would say when he's forgotten his contraceptives.

    Funny that crossed my mind too! I like the way you think.image

  • I don't think there's any minimum body fat percentage as such, but certainly low body fat can cause various physiological and biochemical conditions that make conception less likely. 

    Fitness and 'health' aren't necessarily the same thing. Being in tip-top condition for competing as an athlete doesn't mean that your body is in ideal condition for pregnancy.

    When you think about elite female athletes, particularly runners, they tend to have a particular phenotype - thin with a low body fat. For an awful lot of people this is achieved with high levels of training and close attention to diet, often with energy restriction to maintain low body fat. Such behaviour can result in the female athlete triad - disordered eating, menstrual disruption and poor bone health. In the long term this can adversely affect fertility, as well as cause problems such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Not to mention the possible psychological issues around food and body image. 

    This is an interesting topic image

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    ive read various info on what weight/fat ratio/percentage a woman ceases to menstruate...i agree with STBW...its interesting . STBW , KK, and mysel are all fairly slight in build from what ive read yet we are probably 3 different case scenarios.. i personally notice a difference when training more heavily..they cease altogether and my BMI is 17 so quite low..when i was above 7st they were regular...so there is maybe some pattern...

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    im 5ft 2 KK, anf 6st5..im petite and like you very little bodyfat..i wouldnt say im skinny though..

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    me too (gymnast) and ballet dancerimage

  • I'm small and compact (a 5ft munchkin), but would be utterly useless at gymnastics as I have no coordination whatsoever image

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    sarah the bookworm wrote (see)

    I'm small and compact (a 5ft munchkin), but would be utterly useless at gymnastics as I have no coordination whatsoever image

    LOL stbw...was it you on the pics with Chili at outlaw?

  • I was at the Outlaw and did meet the lovely Chili, so maybe! I've not seen any pics though image

     

  • SlowkoalaSlowkoala ✭✭✭
    I've always been fairly slim (5 ft 4 and 7 stone) and conceived 3 kids very easily (a bit too easily, 2 of the 3 were unplanned!)
  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Wow that makes me a ten ton tessie. I'm 5'3 3/4" and weigh about 116lbs.

    It's about the heaviest 'healthy' weight I've ever been (fibroids aside, I don't know how much weight they add - I've been told they are 'large' that was 6 yrs ago.) I've weighed more but that wasn't due to fat - due to a malfunctioning body.

    I weighed around 105lbs for a couple of years but I looked like a famine victim - not at all healthy. I put on the weight once I started running / swimming / cycling again and not just burning calories at the gym.

    Like KK I'm big boned - I did one of those density tests that came out as medium build.

    Not that any of this answers the OP's question. I've never had children but I've always had periods even when my weight was under 98lbs

    I think Victoria Beckham is the person to ask. There were rumours that she had to gain weight in order to conceive.

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    i think too Cam mouse that to sustain a pregnancy again i would have to gain some weight..im not rake like but there is very little fat, id describe my physique as quite 'hard' ..not a feminine soft curved body. my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but i concieved very quickly and was pregnant within 8 weeks of losing the other. ths went fine but i was monitered for slow weight gain. in actual fact the baby was fine it was just me who didnt get much bigger lol.

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