Why Lose Weight for Pregnancy?
There is already considerable pressure on women who are struggling with excess pounds, and adding the need to achieve weight loss for pregnancy only exacerbates their anxiety. But, studies of Obesity and fertility indicate that being overweight can hinder a woman’s ability to become pregnant.
For women desiring to lose significant amounts of weight for pregnancy, researching bariatric surgery options is a smart idea. It could also be lifesaving for both mother and child, as obesity is one of the highest risk factors women should consider when planning to have a baby. Studies show the most serious complications of pregnancy that threaten the lives of both mother and baby are more often reported for women who are overweight and pregnant.
Obesity and Pregnancy Risk Factors
The statistics are indeed very serious. A combination of obesity and pregnancy increases the likelihood of Pre-Eclampsia, often diagnosed by persistent elevated blood pressure, and for blood clots that can begin in the legs and travel to the lungs. These two conditions account for nearly 40% of all maternal deaths and are much more common in obese women. With these risks, there is also a “dose effect”. More simply put, the more overweight the mother is, the higher the risk.
Other risks to the mother and child which are linked to obesity and pregnancy are:
- Stillbirth: The risk of stillbirth triples for morbidly obese women, but reasons why this is true are still not completely clear. For women who are not obese, the risk for stillbirth is about 1 in 2,000. However, for morbidly obese women, it is closer to 1 in 600. Alarmingly, the higher the mothers BMI, the more significant the risk for stillbirth.
- Miscarriage: Not only is it more difficult for obese women to conceive – potentially because of hormonal fluctuations – they are more likely to miscarry due to pregnancy complications.
- Cesarean sections: The risk for a C-Section heightens for an overweight mother, and the surgery itself has stronger risks. Airways can be compromised during anesthesia, loss of blood is more significant, and there is more potential for infection.
- Gestational Diabetes – Type 2 Diabetes is already a considerable risk for obese adults. In overweight and pregnant women, Gestational Diabetes is 15% more likely to develop as opposed to only 5% for women who have a healthy pregnancy weight.
- Premature birth: Due to pregnancy complications, preterm birth is 1-½ times more likely to happen in obese women.
- Sleep Apnea: Sleep Apnea is commonly associated with obesity, but is more serious for pregnant women. It causes additional fatigue and raises the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia and disorders of the lung and heart.
For the child, there are life-impacting risk factors, like Fetal Macrosomia, the condition of being born larger than what is considered normal. Infants born with Fetal Macrosomia or excess body fat have a greater chance of becoming obese adults. Also, since premature births are more probable, this sets the stage for a host of life-threatening, short and long term conditions. Studies are now linking obesity in the mother to ailments such as asthma, congenital heart disease, neural tube defects, and other birth defects.
For concerned mothers-to-be, these statistics are sobering reasons to consider weight loss for pregnancy.
The Bariatric Experts and Denton Surgical Hospital can help you lose weight before pregnancy and develop a plan for maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight. Our compassionate staff understands your desire to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and a thriving, healthy baby. If you are planning to become pregnant, schedule an appointment with us to learn about your options to achieve weight loss for pregnancy. We want to help you enjoy the most successful pregnancy possible, for you and for your baby.