Get slim, then get pregnant: experts
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.”