Those who have trouble getting pregnant understand how frustrating it is to discuss options and move forward with their spouses.
And for those who are overweight — it is that much harder.
But Nicola Salmon wants to make it easier.
A fertility coach who believes women should be given fertility support and treatment options no matter their weight, Salmon is distressed that large women are told to lose weight when seeking fertility treatment.
Salmon worries it could lead the overweight women to create an unhealthy relationship with food along with severely impacting their mental health.
A mother herself, Salmon has started a movement called #FatFertilityMatters which calls others to be aware of what women with higher BMIs tackle when attempting to get pregnant.
“It’s so important to raise awareness about fat fertility because it is such a taboo subject,” she shared with Yahoo UK.
“We are told as people in fat bodies that it is wrong for us to want to get pregnant, that it is irresponsible and that it may harm our pregnancies and future babies.
“There is so much judgement and shame for women who are going through this that they don’t feel able to stand up and ask for the support and treatment that they deserve as fellow human beings. These women feel so alone on their journeys and that there is nowhere they can turn for help.”
Nicola shares that her own pregnancy encouraged her to start the campaign.
“I’ve struggled with my fat body my whole life and at 16 I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – a metabolic and hormonal condition) and the doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to have kids,” she says.
“When me and my husband were ready to start trying for a family, I was at my heaviest weight and my periods were extremely irregular. But it was easy for us to conceive both our children and it made no sense to me. Why was it so easy for me?”
“When my eldest son was older, I realised that all my issues around food and my body were bound to rub off on him unless I did something about it, so I vowed to never weigh myself or diet again.”
Salmon says accepting her weight has given her the power to encourage other women with higher BMIs to seek equal support in their fertility fight.
“It’s only this year that I’ve been able to make peace with my body enough to step up and support other fat women on this journey without dieting and body shame. I want it to be as easy for them as it was for me,” she explains.
Salmon hopes that everyone has access to the same support and treatment regardless of their size.
“I want equality and non-judgemental healthcare. I want fat women to have the pregnancies, the births and the babies that they want without being shamed for it,” she says.
According to the NHS site, being overweight is a risk factor when it comes to women’s ability to get pregnant. They also recommend that if you are trying to conceive, you should fit into the ‘healthy weight’ category of a BMI between 19 and 25.
“Being overweight or obese (having a BMI of 30 or over) reduces fertility; in women, being overweight or severely underweight can affect ovulation. Being overweight increases the risk of complications for pregnant women and their babies.”
Complications include miscarriage, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, blood clots, the baby becoming ‘stuck’ during labour, as well as post-partum haemorrhage.
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