Pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world, but for some women, conceiving is a real challenge. There are lots of reasons why a woman might be finding it difficult to get pregnant, but if she is overweight or obese, her fertility levels are likely to be lower.
Body Mass Index is used as a general guide to assess whether a woman is overweight or obese. A BMI score of more than 25 is classed as overweight. A woman with a score of 30+ is classed as obese.
BMI and Fertility
Research carried out in the Netherlands has shown that obesity is a barrier to fertility. The study found that normal women with no fertility problems were less likely to fall pregnant if they were significantly overweight. The more overweight the women were, the less likely they were to become pregnant, which shows a clear link between obesity and infertility. If an underlying fertility issue is identified, in vitro fertilisation is an option, although some clinics will recommend that an obese woman loses some weight before she starts fertility treatment.
Body Fat Issues
Being obese is not the whole story. The location of body fat also plays a significant role in fertility and women who are apple shaped will find it harder to conceive.
Obesity and Pregnancy Complications
Aside from the fact that obese women will find it harder to conceive, pregnancy is riskier for obese women. The two main problems associated with being overweight during pregnancy are gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, both of which can be dangerous for a woman and her unborn baby. Both conditions can be controlled, but losing weight prior to pregnancy will reduce the risk of suffering from complications.
Weight Loss Plan
Pregnancy is not the best time to try and lose weight. It is important that pregnant women eat a healthy diet in order that the baby has enough nutrients. Basically you don’t need to eat for two, even though it is tempting to think differently. A healthy weight gain during pregnancy is between 11 and 20 pounds. Any more than that and you will struggle to lose the excess after the baby is born.
Obese women need to be especially careful that they eat a healthy diet – if their pre-pregnancy diet was full of junk food, problems such as gestational diabetes are far more likely. It is also a good idea to try and take some form of regular exercise during pregnancy, although if you are obese, you may wish to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise programme.
Obese woman can expect the same level of care during their pregnancy as a woman of normal weight. Assuming an obese woman doesn’t experience any complications during her pregnancy, she won’t need to see her midwife any more often, but if problems develop, she will be monitored closely to ensure that she and her baby remains healthy.
There are lots of ways to get your pregnancy off to a good start, but if you are obese, losing weight is definitely a good idea.