There’s another good reason to lose weight before getting pregnant. Shedding excess body fat could reduce the risk that the baby-to-be will be overweight or obese. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Physiology, losing weight before pregnancy leads to changes in hormones and insulin sensitivity that are passed on to an unborn baby – helping them reduce their obesity risk.
Losing Weight before Getting Pregnant: What a Study Shows
Researchers compared the offspring of obese rats that ate a high-fat diet before and after pregnancy to mama rats that were switched to a low-fat diet thirty days before conceiving. When they checked the blood of the baby rats, they not only had higher levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that increases the risk of heart disease, but higher leptin levels and more insulin resistance than baby rats from moms that lost weight by eating a low-fat diet before they conceived. These baby rats also had more fat cells and fat cells that were larger – all signs that they were heading for obesity.
This study was done on rats, not humans, but it does raise some compelling questions. Can moms who are obese avoid passing obesity to their offspring by losing weight before getting pregnant? Even if not, there are other good reasons to lose weight before conceiving a child.
Women Who Are Obese During Pregnancy Have a Greater Risk of Other Complications
Women of normal weight often have an easier time conceiving and, when they do, they generally have less discomfort during pregnancy. It’s hard to carry around too much body fat and a baby too. Women who are obese during pregnancy run the risk of pregnancy-related medical problems including gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, pre-term birth and they have a greater chance of needing a Caesarian section.
Babies carried by obese moms are likely to be larger, which can create problems during delivery. They may also be at risk for neural tube defects, a type of birth disorder that causes severe brain and spinal cord problems.
Lose Weight Before Pregnancy: The Bottom Line?
There are many reasons to lose weight before pregnancy if you’re overweight or obese. Being obese during pregnancy causes problems for both a mom and her unborn baby – and it could influence whether a child is destined to fight a lifelong battle with obesity. If you’re overweight, slim down before getting pregnant.
Medical News Today. “Losing Body Fat Before Pregnancy Could Help Break Obesity Cycle”