I read an article this week in the British Medical Journal about obesity in pregnancy and it inspired me to write this blog. The article informs that the World Health Organisation now estimates that more than 50% of men and women are overweight or obese. It then highlighted the problems this brings in pregnancy.
Overweight or obese women are more likely to have fertility problems and thus may struggle to conceive in the first place. When pregnant they are at higher risk of certain conditions such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that people get in pregnancy. Here is more information on it:
Pre-eclampsia is a condition found in women later in pregnancy where they have protein in their urine and high blood pressure. It can cause swelling in the ankles, face and hands and headaches as well as abdominal pain and visual disturbance. Here is more information on it:
Overweight and obese women are more likely to have miscarriage or early deliveries. The babies are also more likely to have congenital (before birth) abnormalities. Babies of obese mothers are likely to have more complications particularly during delivery. Later in life these children are at higher risk of childhood obesity and the problems that result form this.
After the birth pregnant women are more likely to get blood clots in the legs so the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the UK encourages them to have blood thinners (low molecular weight heparin) for 7 days after their delivery if they have one additional risk factor such as smoking.
You may now be asking: What should I do if I am obese and wanting to conceive?
The advice would be that it is key to make lifestyle changes prior to conception to prevent the complications for you and your baby. It is important to seek advice from a doctor on what diet and exercise changes to make. It would be in your best interests to reduce your Body Mass Index (BMI) to a healthy range prior to conception. A healthy range is considered to be a BMI of 19-25.
Here is a link to working out your BMI: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx
Here are some tips on weight loss when you are not pregnant: http://patient.info/health/weight-reduction-how-to-lose-weight
If you are overweight during a pregnancy, it is still worth making lifestyle changes because it will help you instil healthy behaviours in your child and it can impact on your future health greatly. If you are deciding to make any radical changes to your lifestyle during a pregnancy it is worth consulting with a midwife or doctor prior to you making these changes.
Here are some tips in the mean time for if you are overweight and pregnant:
Any questions or comments do get in touch @PregnaPouch or PregnaPouch@gmail.com.
The PregnaPouch team