Overweight and Pregnant: Is it Dangerous?

Copyright 2011

Overweight and PregnantMany women are wondering if being overweight and pregnant can cause complications for their unborn child since obesity has increasingly become a greater problem in the Western world. Women obviously put on weight during pregnancy, but how much is too much? Should overweight women try to slim down before becoming pregnant, or will they put on more weight anyway? Is it safe for an overweight woman to undertake a weight loss program while pregnant? These questions are best answered by a doctor, as they may vary from case to case. However, read on to discover why it’s dangerous to be overweight and pregnant and what you can do to remedy the situation.

There’s no debate over the fact that being overweight and pregnant can cause complications. Not only are more women becoming pregnant while overweight or obese, but a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that women who were overweight prior to pregnancy are two to three times more likely to give birth to a child with serious complications such as spina bifida and heart disease. The study also found that weight gained before pregnancy will likely be more difficult to lose after childbirth. There are clear advantages to slimming down before becoming pregnant.

Many women, however, do not plan their pregnancies or don’t have time to lose weight before coming pregnant. While pregnancy is typically a time when women are advised that gaining weight is a necessity, some doctors, such as Paula Bernstein, an OB-GYN in Los Angeles, believe that women who are already overweight or obese should monitor their weight gain. Women who enter pregnancy at a healthy weight should gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, but women who are already overweight or obese are advised to only gain 15-25 pounds.

Pregnancy is not the time to start a weight loss diet or radical new exercise program. A developing baby needs the nutrients that its mother’s food provides, and cutting out calories means that the baby is being deprived of the raw materials that it needs for development. However, women who are concerned about being overweight or obese while pregnant can do things to lessen their chances of experiencing complications.

Overweight and Pregnant - eat healthy and control your weightEating a balanced and healthy diet which includes whole grains, vegetables, lean protein, and unsaturated fats will provide the developing baby with all the nutrients it needs while still aiding a pregnant woman in losing weight, or preventing her from gaining too much weight. Sensible cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming, and low-impact aerobics can also help in meeting pregnancy weight goals. In many cases, there’s no cause for alarm if an overweight woman loses weight while pregnant: her fat reserves can keep the developing baby well-fed. However, any weight loss should occur naturally as a result of a healthy diet and light exercise instead of a calorie-restricted diet intended specifically for weight loss.

While there are quite a few complications that overweight and pregnant women may experience , they should be careful not to engage in calorie cutting or heavy exercise. Any pregnancy diet plan should be discussed with a doctor or dietitian to make sure that the developing baby will still receive the nutrients he or she needs.

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