A weighty issue

A Weighty Issue

It is summer … apparently. The season of BBQs, Wimbledon and panic dieting
by a very high percentage of women. What vigour and determination we show in
a bid to ban our wobbly bits before they are exposed on a beach or poolside.

Now, if only we would inject such dedication to our physical conditioning before
conceiving. Because, while those layers of extra padding may be embarrassing
on holiday, they are downright dangerous when you are pregnant.

The truth is, women who start pregnancy overweight, or gain too much weight
during the 40-weeks, are more likely to suffer from a range of complications
including hiatal hernia, urinary tract infections, hypertension, gestational diabetes
and bleeding/wound complications. In addition, half of obese woman have a C-
section, almost twice the rate of those with a desirable BMI before pregnancy
(Medical News Today 2008).

Complications are also increased in babies born to obese women: they include
intruterin growth defects, stillbirths, congenital malformations, increased risk of
neural tube defects, increased risk of fetal death and higher rates of childhood
obesity (ACOG, 2005: Cesario, 2003).

So, how can you lose those excess pounds before getting pregnant? The answer
is, I am afraid, what we all know deep-down – sensible, healthy eating and
regular exercise. Crash dieting is definitely not the way to go, as it will leave your
nutrient levels low and could affect fertility. A good start is to cut out alcohol and
refined sugars (both empty calories), and to increase daily activity by at least 30
minutes – get out for a walk in our lovely English weather!

When you are pregnant, be sure to monitor your weight gain so that you are
not gaining too much, or too little. The most recent research recommends the
following gains: Women who are underweight at conception (a BMI of 19.8 or
less) should gain 28lbs – 40lbs, women who are of normal weight (a BMI of 19.8
– 29) should gain 25lbs – 35lbs, and women who are overweight (a BMI of over
29) should gain 15lbs – 25lbs.

Making sure your weight gain during pregnancy is appropriate will help reduce
your risk of the condition highlighted earlier … and ensure that next year’s bikini
regime is not such a chore! Bonus.