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Forum Name: Obstetrics

Question: Weight loss before pregnancy


 xancthus - Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:13 pm

My husband and I want to start trying for a baby in about 6 months. I want to be sure I prepare my body properly for this endeavor. I'm currently overweight, at 270 lbs (5'5") and have maintained this weight for over 10 years. I eat healthy and do not over eat. I do not have diabetes and all my blood work comes back fine. I'm 28, have never been pregnant and do not smoke/drink/do drugs.

For overall health, heart health, and a healthy pregnancy, is it better to maintain my weight and continue eating healthy or diet and try to lose some weight before I conceive?

I've read some studies that suggest that weight loss and weight gain are not as healthy as maintaining weight because they both put strain on the heart. Plus people who have a genetic disposition to being overweight (as I do) tend to gain more weight when they diet (Yo-Yo). I don't want to gain an exorbitant amount of weight during pregnancy, so I don't want to cause a Yo-Yo effect by dieting before I get pregnant.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:53 pm

User avatar Hello,
I think you are wise to plan ahead. I would also recommend a preconception visit with your doctor to evaluate all aspects of your health.

I would recommend weight loss, but not in a dramatic (yo-yo) way. No starvation or grapefruit diets which usually result in regaining of the lost weight. This would include some popular diets like hcg with extremely low calories. However, a program like Weight Watchers would be excellent for you. It's a lifestyle change you can live with rather than an extreme diet. You can even eat this way while pregnant though they won't let you continue to come to their weigh-ins and meetings once you are.

Eating healthy is important but a reduction in calories will not interfere with this. You may even want to see a dietician for a consultation and calculated food intake program.

It has been shown that even a moderate weight loss of 10% results in huge health benefits and this would definitely apply to your pregnancy.

Even though you don't have diabetes or high blood pressure now, pregnancy stress can bring these on and you are at risk for gestational diabetes.

One of the best things you could do would be to begin a good exercise program - walking, biking, swimming, treadmill, etc. If you could exercise 4 times a week, this will help jump start a healthy weight loss and not hurt in any way since you are healthy. But, it is always good to consult with the doctor in that preconception visit about these things first to be sure and do not start with a marathon - ease in gradually. Start with maybe 10 minutes and work up from there.

Also, if you aren't already doing so, take a good multivitamin containing at least 400 mcg folic acid (folate) daily. This does the most good when taken preconceptionally and at the time of conception. Also, start reading about breastfeeding. It has tremendous long-term benefits and has even been associated with a lower incidence of future obesity in the baby.

Good luck in your plans.

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