Get slim, then get preg­nant: ex­perts

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - JANE HANSEN HEALTH RE­PORTER

LOS­ING weight be­fore con­ceiv­ing may be as im­por­tant for your baby’s health as stop­ping smok­ing and tak­ing fo­late.

An Aus­tralian-first study may show this sim­ple change could mas­sively cut rates of still­birth, hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes, mis­car­riage, preterm birth and cae­sarean de­liv­ery.

These are med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions that not only harm moth­ers, but can even kill their un­born chil­dren.

Half of all preg­nant women are now classed as over­weight, which leads to is­sues such as the rate of ges­ta­tional di­a­betes al­most dou­bling since 2013 — from 7 per cent to 13 per cent — and af­fect­ing 12,375 women.

Syd­ney Univer­sity re­searchers are re­cruit­ing women with a body mass in­dex over 25 to par­tic­i­pate in a trial that will test two weight loss pro­grams be­fore con­cep­tion.

If this pi­lot study is a suc­cess, a much wider study will take place.

Royal Prince Al­fred Hos­pi­tal neona­tol­o­gist Adri­enne Gor­don said los­ing weight be­fore con­cep­tion could in­crease fer­til­ity, in­creas­ing the chances of con­ceiv­ing nat­u­rally.

Com­pared to women with a healthy BMI, over­weight women have more fer­til­ity prob­lems. A fer­til­ity study con­ducted by RPA found weight loss was as­so­ci­ated with a three­fold in­crease in live births. Con­versely, be­ing over­weight dur­ing preg­nancy can have a big ef­fect on both the mother and child.

“One in two preg­nant women are over­weight, that is the new nor­mal,” Dr Gor­don said. “The down­stream ef­fects in­clude a higher rate of mis­car­riage, still­birth, preterm birth, ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure and a higher rate of cae­sarean sec­tions. Ba­bies born to over­weight moth­ers are gen­er­ally larger and a larger birth weight is a risk fac­tor for child­hood obe­sity.”

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