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Nov 22

Struggling To Get Pregnant? Losing Weight Will Help

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Dr Sally Norton – UK leading NHS weight loss surgeon & consultantOne of the many reasons that women, and occasionally men, come to see me for weight loss advice is because they want to start a family, but are struggling. Did you know that obesity is a major cause of difficulty getting pregnant – and can increase the risk of miscarriage or problems during pregnancy and childbirth? In fact, there is a significantly greater risk of diabetes during pregnancy if you are overweight – and this can affect the future health of your child as well as you.

Research evidence shows that being overweight can contribute to period problems, hormonal imbalances, lack of ovulation, resistance to fertility treatment and therefore fertility problems particularly in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

There is a higher risk of miscarriage, higher risk of abnormalities of the baby as well as still birth in women who are overweight. The pregnant overweight mother is also at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and difficult or complicated delivery of the baby by Caesarean or forceps.

Some women end up seeking help with IVF (in-vitro fertilization) or other forms of fertility treatment, but this isn’t usually funded unless women are below a BMI of 30 or under the age of 40 – which is why I get women coming to me for weight-loss surgery. They are desperate, the clock is ticking, and they can’t seem to lose weight on their own. It’s sad to see, and the stress of it all doesn’t help fertility in the slightest!

Interestingly it’s not all about the woman’s weight. In men, being obese can cause the following problems: reduced semen volume, a reduced sperm count and increased sperm DNA damage. Losing weight will improve these parameters.

So, if you are thinking of starting a family, it is a great incentive for both you and your partner to lose weight. But you have to make sure you do it in a way that is good for you. Fad dieting which will starve your body of essential nutrients which, for women, is just at the time when you and your unborn child need them most. In fact, some studies suggest that a mother’s diet, even BEFORE she actually gets pregnant, can affect the health of her child. So instead of crash dieting, treat your body with the care and respect it deserves – after all, you’ll be relying on your body to create a healthy new life within it. Fill it with the most nutritious food you can find, keep active to ensure you are as fit as you can be – and not only will you be rewarded with a slimmer healthier body but you will find it easier to get pregnant too.

By Dr Sally Norton – UK leading NHS weight loss surgeon & consultant