Here's how much weight you should lose before getting pregnant | Health - Hindustan Times
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Here's how much weight you should lose before getting pregnant

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jul 12, 2023 02:08 PM IST

An obese woman is often told to lose weight before conceiving. So how much and how to achieve that weight loss in a healthy way? Expert shares tips

Obesity is one of the most common cause of infertility as when people affected by obesity have trouble getting pregnant, it's often because they are not regularly ovulating and when there is no ovulation, women can't get pregnant. The ovaries naturally produce, the female hormone estrogen but adipose tissue (fat cells) make estrogen too so, an obese women with lot of fat cells can produce excess estrogen.

Here's how much weight you should lose before getting pregnant (Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash)
Here's how much weight you should lose before getting pregnant (Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Aruna Kumari, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Bangalore's Bellandur, explained, “Just like if anyone take birth control pills or are pregnant (two states that include extra estrogen), might stop ovulating as a result. Just because a relationship between weight and fertility has been found, it doesn’t mean a doctor should ignore further testing in a woman, with obesity in periconceptional period. Sometimes, a hormonal imbalance leads to a weight problem, rather than the other way around. In these cases, treating the cause of that hormonal imbalance may make it easier to control the weight and boosts fertility.”

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She elaborated, “Ideally, it should be in the best possible shape to implant and nourish a growing baby. If overweight, doctors advise losing the extra kilos before you conceive, if possible. Going into your pregnancy overweight means you could put your own health and your baby's health at risk, and potentially set your child up for a lifetime of health issues. Clinical Studies say that being overweight can lead to a list of pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defects such as spina bifida. Too many pounds also makes it harder for you to conceive in the first place. Obese women more likely to develop problems during their pregnancy, including high blood pressure (preeclampsia) and gestational diabetes.”

Dr Aruna Kumari added, “The dose of medicine required to treat a particular disease is more. The drug dose is calculated based on BMI of the patient. So the treatment expenses also goes up. Even more concerning are the potential lifelong effects of an overweight mom on their baby.”

Alan M Peaceman, MD (fetal Medicine expert), said, “Research suggests that overweight mothers are programming babies in utero to be overweight themselves and to have long-term problems with obesity and childhood diabetes.”

How much weight should you aim to lose?

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), more than 70% of women with weight-related infertility could get pregnant without fertility treatments if they brought their weight to a healthier level. According to Dr Aruna Kumari, women can do this by simply adjusting their diet and physical activity levels but a doctor or specialist help is required to evaluate, uncover and treat underlying health issues that impact your weight.

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of anovulation leading to fertility issues.. Up to 95% of people who seek out fertility treatments because they don't ovulate regularly have PCOS. Many people with PCOS make too much insulin, a hormone that converts blood sugar to energy. Excess insulin is linked to both obesity and irregular menstrual cycles.vFor people with PCOS who are overweight or obese, losing just 5% to 10% of body weight may help restore regular ovulation. Other people benefit from medication that treats their insulin issues directly. In the management of insulin-resistance, the drug metformin is proven to help many people with PCOS to lose weight as well as ovulate more regularly.
  • Thyroid disordersv - Thyroid disorders are also known to cause problems with both weight and fertility. When there is an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, you don't make enough of two hormones, known as T3 and T4. These hormones play a role in metabolism—which is linked to weight control—as well as ovulation. Losing weight slowly, while nourishing your body in satisfying ways, is best for your fertility and your overall health. Certified nutritionists or registered dietitians are the best people to guide you.

Dr Aruna Kumari concluded, “If you're obese , don't feel like your situation is hopeless. Losing even small amounts of weight when you're outside a healthy zone can be helpful for reproductive, physical and mental wellness.”

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