09 September 2008

We all know that being underweight or overweight can reduce fertility, makes harder for women to get pregnant.
In particular, women who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of suffering from :
  1. Insulin resistance.
  2. High Blood Pressure
  3. Miscarriage
  4. Congenital malformations, particularly to the heart and spine of a developing baby.
  5. Seven different types of birth defect, revealed these to be spina bifida, heart defects, genital and bowel abnormalities and small or missing toes, fingers, arms and legs.
  6. Make delivering the baby much harder and caesarean sections are more commonly needed.
  7. Once the baby has been born, women who were overweight before they became pregnant often find it even harder to shift those pounds after giving birth.
Insulin resistance
Insulin resistance can make:
  1. Harder to get pregnant, because can affect ovulation and can cause irregular menstrual cycles.
  2. Increases the risk of gestational diabetes. All women become slightly more insulin resistant when they are pregnant because the placenta creates anti-insulin hormones that make it harder for insulin to do its normal job of lowering blood sugar levels.
  3. Blood sugar levels can rise even more during pregnancy, resulting in diabetes.
  4. The excess sugar in the blood can directly affect the size of the developing baby. If the baby gets too much ‘nourishment’ via the placenta, it can grow really big, making it harder to deliver.
Babies are also more likely to suffer with jaundice and be at higher risk themselves for developing obesity and type 2 diabetes in later life. Mums-to-be with gestational diabetes can also have problems. For example, they are more likely to suffer with urinary tract infections and may need a caesarean section. They also have an increased chance of developing diabetes in later life or in a subsequent pregnancy.

High Blood Pressure
Being obese also puts women at risk of high blood pressure. During pregnancy, this can lead to a condition called pre-eclampsia:
  1. Increases the risk of stroke
  2. Impair kidney and liver function
  3. blood clotting problems
  4. Pulmonary oedema (fluid on the lungs) and seizures
  5. death of the mother and/or baby (in severe forms).
  6. the flow of blood to the placenta, babies can be smaller and are often born prematurely.

8 Top Tips Body Weight Manage Before Pregnancy
  1. Get a healthy body weight! If you’re very overweight, aiming for a BMI of 25 or below might not be realistic. Any weight you lose could help you to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
  2. Don’t start faddy or crash diets. Any diet that severely restricts your food intake or avoids groups of foods will leave you short on a range of important vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet with a moderate calorie restriction to shift those pounds. Your body will be able to cope with the demands of pregnancy.
  3. Be more active! exerciSE regularly will improve fitness levels, strength and stamina. This will benefit you throughout your pregnancy and may help to make the birth easier.
  4. Before you start trying for a baby, make an appointment to see your GP or practice nurse. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of health problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. All these conditions can cause problems during pregnancy so it’s important to get checked for them before you conceive.
  5. Take folic acid supplements each day. The daily dose recommended for women who are planning a pregnancy take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid each day. This B vitamin is essential for the healthy development of a baby’s brain and spinal cord and so helps to reduce the chances of having a baby with spina bifida. However, if you are obese or suffer with diabetes, you should take a 5 miligram supplement of folic acid. This is because both of these conditions increase the risk of congenital abnormalities. Supplements of 5mg folic acid are only available on prescription so you’ll need to see your GP.
  6. Avoid taking supplements that contain vitamin A, including cod liver oil capsules, as this vitamin is stored in the body and experts believe that too much may harm a developing baby. Avoid liver and liver products such as pâté as they are rich sources of vitamin A.
  7. If you’re a fan of fish, you might need to eat less or avoid certain varieties, like shark, swordfish or marlin and having no more than four cans of tuna or two fresh tuna steaks a week as these can contain high levels of mercury, a heavy metal that can harm the nervous system of a developing baby.
  8. Avoiding alcohol when you’re trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy. If you can’t give it up altogether, have no more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week to reduce the risk of having a baby with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

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