If you are planning to have a baby and you are overweight, then there is an urgent task at your hands; you need to lose weight before you conceive. Being obese is not good and may give rise problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. But if the mother has excess body weight then she is putting her baby at risk too.
Risk Factors of Being Overweight before Pregnancy
An obese mother may give birth to a stillborn child; she may suffer a miscarriage; or the child may suffer from congenital anomalies like spina bifida. The baby may be at risk even after it grows up. It may develop diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. In fact, researchers suggest that overweight mothers unwittingly program their children to be prone to obesity which itself is a precursor to many complications. To put it succinctly, a mother with excess weight may be responsible for so many different diseases and problems in her child. So before you conceive you need to get in shape. You need to lose some extra weight.
What Should be Your Weight Before Pregnancy?
Now that’s a difficult question to answer. It depends on various factors like your height, daily activities, bone density, etc. The ideal weight reduction target is best dictated by your doctor. But even if you cannot achieve the target, an approach to lower weight and a net reduction would augur well for you as well as for the baby. Some people are predisposed to excess weight. It may be difficult for them to lose much weight. But, weight reduction by even a few pounds counts while you are thinking of getting a baby. You need a healthy baby and to that end you need to shed some extra weight.
How can I lose weight?
The mantra for weight loss is reducing your calorie intake. So you need to reduce your calorie intake. You also need to start activities that help consume calories. But it is the doctor who can dictate the best weight reduction method for you. So discuss with your doctor about your food habits, lifestyle etc. and get a tailor made solution for weight reduction.
Losing weight after conceiving
It is a strict no no. You should not even think of reducing weight after conceiving. Weight reduction involves reducing calorie intake. On the other hand nurturing a baby involves increasing calorie intake since you need energy to supply it to the baby. However, you can still try to contain your weight during pregnancy. This is possible since most women become overweight during pregnancy.
Weight gain during pregnancy
It is normal for women to become overweight during pregnancy. But what happens normally is that pregnant women take in more calories than is needed for the mother and baby together. It has been seen that normally a woman needs to take around 300 calories more than her usual calorific intake. That will give her the right kind of weight during pregnancy. As some women take more than that it results into extra pounds for the mother. This increases her weight proportionately and makes her overweight even after childbirth.
Overweight women find it difficult to conceive
Not only you are predisposing your baby to risk, but you are decreasing the chances of conceiving because of your extra weight. Extra weight can reduce fertility, and this is a scientific finding. It has been seen that obese women are at a greater risk of suffering from a resistance to insulin. This condition is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. When this condition arises the body becomes less sensitive to insulin. This gives rise to overproduction of insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. However, higher levels of insulin in the blood may also reduce ovulation and play havoc with your menstrual cycle. So being overweight predisposes you to the risk of sterility. Therefore, before thinking about the ideal weight before pregnancy, you should be concerned about your extra weights interfering with your ability to conceive.
Pregnancy despite being overweight
It is possible that you conceive despite being overweight. If you are already disposed towards a diabetic trend then getting pregnant will only add to that risk. Women become slightly resistant to insulin when they get pregnant. This is because, the placenta, the sack where the fetus grows up, creates a hormone that is anti-insulin in nature. This makes it hard for insulin to do its job of lowering the blood sugar. This can lead to a spike in blood sugar, which may have the following unintended consequences.
- The mother may gain more weight, which can create a vicious cycle of more weight and more risk for the child.
- The baby may get too much sugar from the placenta and grow very big in size. If it grows really big it may become hard to deliver for the mother.
- The child gets predisposed to suffer from jaundice at a later life.
Your risks as an overweight mother
You too are at risk because of your excess weight. Research shows that you are likely to suffer from urinary tract infections, have an increased risk of developing diabetes later or during a subsequent pregnancy. You may also develop high blood pressure, which during pregnancy can lead to a condition called pre-eclampsia. If you have severe preeclampsia, you may suffer from headaches, blurred vision, intolerance to bright light, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, urinating in small amounts, pain in the right upper quadrant of abdomen, difficulty in breathing, easy bruising on the body etc. Hypertension may also increase the risk of stroke, kidney damage and liver damage and can interfere with blood clotting. It may also lead to accumulation of fluid in the lungs and seizures. Moreover, pre-eclampsia has a bearing on the flow of blood to the placenta, the sack where the baby lives. This can lead to smaller size and premature birth of the baby.
The only way to annul the risks of being overweight is to get in shape well before becoming pregnant. This will not only help you to conceive easily, but also to nurture the baby better and prevent many diseases both in you and in the baby.