Primal/Paleo Low Body Fat and Pregnancy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-09-2012, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just hoping someone could give me some hope in terms of conceiving while having a low BMI/body fat....I am eating close to a Paleo diet, since that is how I feel best, but I haven't been able to gain weight. (quite possibly because I am still nursing my 20 month old quite a lot).  I am currently right on the "line" so to speak of being underweight, and have always been slender.  When I got pregnant with my son, I was almost 15 pounds heavier (the most I have weighed in my life), but also quite unhealthy in terms of diet.  Once my son was born I started paying attention to food, and the weight has all melted away. 

 

Anyway, I am quite sure that i am going to have to substantially cut down on nursing in order to start ovulating, but I am still hoping that I won't have to stop completely.  I'm hoping that there are other Mammas out there who have successfully gotten pregnant while being on the low range of normal in terms of weight.

 

(Yes I know everyone is different, but just looking for advice and others' experiences)


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#2 of 10 Old 08-09-2012, 05:10 PM
 
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Are you ovulating regularly? I've had lower BMI from time to time, even with nursing; but as long as you're ovulating, that's not a problem!!!

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#3 of 10 Old 08-10-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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It's my understanding that you have to be severely underweight for BMI to make a difference in your ovulation, unless you have PCOS. My guess it that you won't have any trouble getting pregnant once you cut back. You're more likely to have to eat some non-paleo foods during pregnancy, though, because you don't have any reserves and this is your second child. (That's what I have gleaned from some of the literature.)

 

I'm a paleo eater too, btw, who's been using it (among other things) to try and control my PCOS so I can have #1.


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#4 of 10 Old 08-10-2012, 05:43 AM
 
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I would agree that the nursing is almost definitely the cause here, not your BMI. I had a friend that it took her over 4 years to get pregnant b/c she was still nursing. I don't say this to scare you into stopping, just that it can affect your fertility long after it's not their primary food source.

 

The best part of paleo/primal is you're already eating a healthy diet and don't have to make major changes once you're pregnant. I did add dairy back in once I got pregnant since weight loss was no longer a goal for me.


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#5 of 10 Old 08-10-2012, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by rs11 View Post

It's my understanding that you have to be severely underweight for BMI to make a difference in your ovulation, unless you have PCOS. My guess it that you won't have any trouble getting pregnant once you cut back.

 

From what I have read, BMI or fat percent can make a difference...it would have to be really low in order to stop ovulating, but at about 22%ish to be "prime" for pregnancyReally though, I think you are right - I just need to come to terms with the fact that I am one of those people who needs to cut way back on nursing or wean completely.  ::sigh::

 

You're more likely to have to eat some non-paleo foods during pregnancy, though, because you don't have any reserves and this is your second child. (That's what I have gleaned from some of the literature.)

 

This I am okay with...I am someone who believes that we need to eat what is nourishing and what makes our bodies feel good.  It can be hard to stay within the boundaries of labels...but it's a convenient way to describe diets.  ;)

 

I'm a paleo eater too, btw, who's been using it (among other things) to try and control my PCOS so I can have #1.

 

I hope that things go well for you! I, for one, have felt amazing since moving in this direction, and although my weight is lower, I FEEL much healthier.  How long have you been eating this way?

 

 

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Are you ovulating regularly? I've had lower BMI from time to time, even with nursing; but as long as you're ovulating, that's not a problem!!!



I'm not actually ovulating yet...that's part of my issue.  Is it because I'm nursing or because I have a lowish BMI...probably some combination of both...I have just cut back on a couple of nursing sessions, and it certainly feels as though AF will b returning soon, which is encouraging, but that is different from actually being able to sustain a pregnancy.  I guess I am a little paranoid because I never thought that I would be so long without AF, so I am hoping that fertility will come quick once AF starts, and not that I will need to work on gaining weight at the same time...although that may be easier to do if I am not nursing as frequently too. 

 

This thread is totally just me "verbalizing" a thought process winky.gif...thanks for helping!


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#6 of 10 Old 08-10-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Jackies View Post

I would agree that the nursing is almost definitely the cause here, not your BMI. I had a friend that it took her over 4 years to get pregnant b/c she was still nursing. I don't say this to scare you into stopping, just that it can affect your fertility long after it's not their primary food source.

 

The best part of paleo/primal is you're already eating a healthy diet and don't have to make major changes once you're pregnant. I did add dairy back in once I got pregnant since weight loss was no longer a goal for me

Yes, I feel that you are right...I think there is just the element of having some "control" over the process, if it were just the weight alone. redface.gif


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#7 of 10 Old 08-14-2012, 10:51 AM
 
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I tend to have a very low BMI and nurse for what seems like forever! And yes, both greatly affect my fertility. In my experience with working with breastfeeding women for 9 years now, women who do have lower BMIs, tend to have AF stay away longer OR have irregular cycles to the point where fertility is still compromised. Often gaining weight shifts the pattern where a decrease in nursing is not needed. Or some though, only decreasing nursing will help, I have only encouraged one mom who did have to fully wean. Ok, next is a time period. Having a 20 month old, lower BMI, and breast-feeding with no AF is normal. Average return of period with extended bfing is around 14 months, you are going to extend that for being skinny. I have had really thin moms go easily beyond the 2 year mark with no AF and when it did return, they still where nor "fertile", meaning the cycles were such that no pg was possible. 

 

 

This is an area of interest for me because I have spent the last almost 10 years nursing and have had 4 children in that time without ever reducing my nursing with a lower BMI. It was not always easy. I never studied it formally but paid attention to the hundreds of moms I have worked with over the years and the patterns I noticed. My own stats are: DD1 was 2.5 years old when I finally gave up and induced AF back. I had already gained 12 lbs by then but was still considered under BMI. My LP was way too short to sustain a pg, I spend the next 6+ months working with herbalists to lengthen it with herbs. I finally got pg when she was 3 year old. DD2 was 18 month old when AF returned, I was slightly under my weight when I got pg with her. I immediately started my herbs again and got pg 3 months later. DS1 was 8 months old when AF returned. This is the most I had ever weighed non-pg though (at this point) and he  was autistic and not a big nurser. Even though AF was back, it was irregular, despite me not really preventing, I did not get pg for another year until he was 18 months old and ironically the month I WAS preventing because by then I knew something was developmentally off with him. eyesroll.gif Figures! DS2 is 12 months and I weigh more then I  did when I got pg with him, still an average BMI though. I don't know the actual number but I am 5'5 and 120 currently when my old weight used be to between 98-110 with the first two kids. And no AF yet. But I am pretty sure I ovulated this week, if I didn't then it is a really good warning that I am about to soon. Which I am glad for because #5 IS NOT HAPPENING EVER. orngtongue.gif


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#8 of 10 Old 08-15-2012, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am definitely finding this an interesting idea, if not a little bittersweet.  I tend to think that there are (of course) a number of factors that can affect the return to fertility, but I think weight and nursing frequency are biggies.  I think that diet and sleep play a role as well, but apparently not as big as I had once imagined.  And stress...I also have a feeling that perhaps another obstacle I need to overcome is actually seeing myself there, kwim? I can't visualize myself pregnant, so there may be an issue of self fulfilling prophecy too.  

 

It's very interesting to hear your story, thanks for sharing! It's so interesting the way that weight played a role for you.  And I hope that you are able to prevent a #5 thumb.gif


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#9 of 10 Old 08-16-2012, 04:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BabySmurf View Post

.

 

I hope that things go well for you! I, for one, have felt amazing since moving in this direction, and although my weight is lower, I FEEL much healthier.  How long have you been eating this way?

 

We've only been eating a full-on paleo for a couple of months, but I've lost five more pounds and I feel so much better. I'm down to 120 and my goal is to get to 115. I've been ovulating on my own without fertility drugs since February, thanks to metformin and a prolactin-lowering drug, but they haven't been strong ovulations and the one time we caught I miscarried at just a few weeks. My doctor said it was almost certainly an egg quality issue. My ovulations have been getting stronger every month, but the difference since I started eating paleo has been incredible. I was able to pinpoint the exact moment I released an egg this month and I was sore for days afterward -all without any fertility drugs. Unfortunately, we're not TTC at this moment, but I'm hoping this bodes well for cycles to come.

 

I have a suggestion for you. The reason most women don't ovulate while BF is due to elevated prolactin levels. I have this condition anyway as part of the PCOS, but it's natural when you're BF. The hormone is supposed to gradually decrease as the baby gets older, but it sounds like yours isn't doing so on schedule. This has nothing to do with your BMI. My suggestion is that you go to your doctor and get a hormone panel done to see where you stand. 

 

If your prolactin is too high, at least then you can rule out your BMI as a cause.


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#10 of 10 Old 08-17-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've only been eating a full-on paleo for a couple of months, but I've lost five more pounds and I feel so much better. I'm down to 120 and my goal is to get to 115. I've been ovulating on my own without fertility drugs since February, thanks to metformin and a prolactin-lowering drug, but they haven't been strong ovulations and the one time we caught I miscarried at just a few weeks. My doctor said it was almost certainly an egg quality issue. My ovulations have been getting stronger every month, but the difference since I started eating paleo has been incredible. I was able to pinpoint the exact moment I released an egg this month and I was sore for days afterward -all without any fertility drugs. Unfortunately, we're not TTC at this moment, but I'm hoping this bodes well for cycles to come.

 

that's great!

 

I have a suggestion for you. The reason most women don't ovulate while BF is due to elevated prolactin levels. I have this condition anyway as part of the PCOS, but it's natural when you're BF. The hormone is supposed to gradually decrease as the baby gets older, but it sounds like yours isn't doing so on schedule. This has nothing to do with your BMI. My suggestion is that you go to your doctor and get a hormone panel done to see where you stand. 

 

That is definitely something to consider....although my levels are probably too high just because of the frequency that my son nurses.  I am pushing to get ONE four hour stretch during the day where he doesn't nurse...and he still nurses a bit at night too.  i am curious (hopeful) that i could kickstart my fertility by upping my bmi.  i have very mixed feelings about how fast to push weaning on my son...i really, really, really don't want to wean him completely, but i have a fear that will have to be the case.  greensad.gif  I feel anxious since I don't feel that he is anywhere near weaning on his own, and my DH doesn't understand the attachment to the nursing relationship.  and my DH really wants to have another baby....and i do to, although i don't want to sabotage my ds's needs. 

 

If your prolactin is too high, at least then you can rule out your BMI as a cause.

 

 


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