Are you overweight and pregnant? Or are you looking for information on the effects of obesity on fertility if you are trying for a baby?
Well, medical research has demonstrated that you are less likely to conceive if you are obese. But the problem goes beyond that. If you are pregnant and obese, you and your unborn baby are likely to experience more complications during pregnancy, in labor and there after.
Does that mean that it is wrong to add on weight in pregnancy? No. Not if you add on a modest amount of weight. How much is modest weight in pregnancy?
Every pregnant woman is expected to put on an average of 6 to 15kg (up to 31 lb) of weight as the pregnancy progresses. This is as a result of increased blood volume needed for a healthy pregnancy, the additional weight of the baby, the placenta, increased breast size, and the increased size of the womb.
This additional weight gain tends to resolve in the following 6 to 12 weeks after delivery. So, when is one said to be obese in pregnancy?
To be overweight is defined as having a BMI between 25 kg/m2 and 29.9 kg/m2, and to be obese is to have a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more.
Obesity in pregnancy, or obesity and pregnancy (also called maternal obesity or gestational obesity) refers to the excessive weight gain occurring before or during pregnancy, in an expectant mother.
Anything in excess of the above weight gain of 10 to 15kg (some may stretch this up to 20kg) occurring during pregnancy is unhealthy and constitutes gestational obesity or obesity in pregnancy for an hitherto normal-weight woman, and no more than 15 to 25 lb (6 to 12Kg) additional weight for an already over weight or obese mother-to-be.
For clarity, a BMI of more than 35 puts a pregnant woman at moderate risk of complications associated with pregnancy and delivery, and certainly, a BMI of 40 or more confers a very high obstetric risk on the mother-to-be.
So too is a preexisting obesity before pregnancy. It dramatically increases the risk associated with pregnancy.
A review published by the United Kingdom Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries in the bi-yearly publication Saving Mother's Lives (previously known as Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health) reports that there is "substantial evidence that obesity in pregnancy contributes to increased morbidity and mortality for both mother and baby".
It continues "more than half of all women who died from direct or indirect causes were overweight or obese". What a grim report. No wonder obesity and pregnancy should be given more than the usual attention.
To be obese and pregnant or obesity and pregnancy puts the mother at increased risk of pregnancy related complications like being more likely to have:
In the United States alone, obesity accounts for over 300,000 deaths annually, and a large number of these include mothers-to-be.
Yes. It is no longer fashionable to pile on the pounds during pregnancy. No more "eating for two" in terms of the size of portions served when you are pregnant, but certainly true in terms of quality of food to eat when pregnant.
While dieting is not recommended during pregnancy, if you find out that you are obese, there is a lot you can do to remedy the situation before you become pregnant and even while you are pregnant.
If you are obese and finding it difficult to get pregnant, losing 5 - 10 percent of your current body weight can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Have you been trying to lose weight and continue to find it difficult to do? Do not despair. It is not going to be easy, but it is do-able. If you think it is impossible, then think again. Mexican Manuel Uribe was the world's fattest man until February 2012. He lost 60 stone to hit 31 stone after dieting!
Yes. With dieting and exercise alone, with a big pouch of determination, you can do it. Don't put if off. To diet during pregnancy is dangerous. The best time is now. Do the following to put off the pounds:
all the above in conjunction with your health care provider could help
in bringing down your weight and in improving your chances of getting
pregnant. If your weight problem is caused by the condition known as
polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), your doctor may decide to put you on
metformin and or clomiphen to help in improving your fertility and
What if you are pregnant and want to lose weight?
Aggressive weight loss during pregnancy is not advised. Neither is the use of weight loss medication.
If you are already pregnant and want to lose weight, a regime of sensible dieting and moderate exercise is best.
You can read more on workouts in pregnancy here.
Because of the increased risk of folate and vitamin D deficiency, higher probability of developing gestational diabetes and problems with fetal growth in the pregnant and obese, management of women with obesity in pregnancy requires the routine administration of:
If you or your loved one require further help with dealing with obesity in pregnancy, see your GP or Family doctor who can give you detailed practical help.
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