Overweight and Pregnant: What Are the Dangers? What to Be Aware of?

overweight and pregnant. obese pregnant woman

Every woman knows that overweight is not only unattractive, but also dangerous for health. After all, extra pounds can provoke the development of various diseases that are harmful for the health. In addition, very often for people with excess weight, there are many contraindications. For example, doctors forbid them to eat a lot of sweet, because it can become both the cause of the increase in pounds, and the increase in blood sugar. After all, as a rule, people with excess weight suffer from diabetes mellitus. Also one of the contraindications for obese women is pregnancy. Well, at least, until they lose weight. After all, pregnancy with excess weight can affect the health of the mother, and the development of the fetus. So, what to do if you are overweight and pregnant? What should a woman be aware of?

Is Excess Weight Indeed a Serious Obstacle to the Onset of Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The frequency of infertility in obese women is two times higher than in women with normal body weight. In women who are overweight and pregnant, the risk of miscarriage significantly increases. Its frequency reaches 40%. A woman who is planning to have a baby should normalize her metabolic rates as much as possible while preparing for pregnancy.

Still, there is no direct dependence between the ability of a woman to become pregnant and her weight. There are many examples when women with excess weight give birth to several children without any complications. And vice versa, sometimes women with normal weight cannot get pregnant for years. And, nevertheless, it is reasonable to believe that the presence of excess weight in a woman can be an indirect cause of infertility. In support of this view, there are a number of facts.

In overweight women, menstrual cycle disorders occur more often under the influence of the endocrine factor. This leads to infertility. Often a decrease in excess weight by at least 10% leads to the normalization of the menstrual cycle.

overweight and pregnant. Overweight woman buttoning up her jeans

Excess weight disrupts the balance of sex hormones in the body of a woman. This, in turn, affects conception and ovulation in the most direct way. For example, female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) regulate the process of ovulation. In the process of ovulation, the egg ripens. Progesterone prepares a woman’s body for the adoption of a mature egg. Estrogen, in turn, controls progesterone. Fat cells activate the production and accumulation of a large number of estrogen, the excess of which blocks progesterone. As a result, ovulation is disturbed and the egg does not ripen. Thus, the work of the ovaries and ovulation is disrupted.

A Bit More About the Hormonal Factor

The fat tissue of a woman is hormonally active: it produces the female sex hormones – estrogens. Hence, the more fat, the higher the level of sex hormones is. Estrogens in our body should be balanced with progesterone. But in fat tissue it is produced in a lesser degree. It causes hormonal imbalance. And this is a risk factor for infertility, as well as gynecological diseases. Disturbances of hormonal balance can be manifested in the form of disturbances in the cycle, or may not be noticeable. Gynecologists conducted special examinations in women with overweight, who had menstruation in time, and found that their progesterone concentration was still much lower than in women with normal weight.

What About the Male Factor?

The cause of infertility can be extra pounds not only of a woman, but also of a man. Women with overweight have an excess of testosterone. But in obese men there is a lack of it. It leads to violations of spermatogenesis with quite normal sexual vigor. Therefore, a man with excess weight is quite capable of being a husband, but it is much more difficult for him to become a father.

overweight and pregnant. obese man

Other Factors Influencing Fertility

In addition, an increased level of estrogen in the body of a woman creates the risk of the formation of various types of tumors, such as fibroids and uterine fibroids, which is also often the cause of infertility.

Another unpleasant consequence of excess estrogen in the body of a woman with excess weight is endometriosis of the uterus (proliferation of the mucous membrane of the uterus).

Such a disease as polycystic ovary can become the consequence of excess weight. Violation of the hormonal background in the body of a woman leads to the accumulation in the ovaries of partially matured oocytes, which again leads to a violation of the menstrual cycle. In polycystic ovaries there is increase of the production of androgen hormones. Its accumulation slows ovulation down. Often ovulation can completely stop. Polycystic ovary is more common in women after 30 years old, who already have children.

Overweight and Pregnant: Possible Complications

First of all, it should be said that any woman during pregnancy is gaining weight. This is totally normal, because the fetus grows and develops. In addition, everything that surrounds the baby – the placenta, water, etc., also contributes to the fact that the weight of the future mother increases. Plus, almost all pregnant women have an excellent appetite, which doesn’t remain unnoticed on the scales. If you take all this into account you will understand that the weight of such a mother will be very big. As a result, this affects all internal organs, which in this period should intensively provide vital activity of the two organisms. Naturally, experiencing such tension, internal organs will not be able to function properly.

overweight and pregnant. overweight woman

Often, women with overweight may experience hypertension. Increased blood pressure is very dangerous for both the mother and the baby. Thus, being overweight and pregnant may result in myocardial infarction, stroke, pulmonary edema and cerebral hemorrhage. In addition, placental abruption and premature birth may occur. For a child, there is a threat of hypoxia and intrauterine death (if the fetus is not yet formed and is not viable).

If you are overweight and pregnant there is a danger of such complication as pre-eclampsia. This is a late toxicosis, which is quite expressed and can affect the intrauterine development of the baby. Such a violation is manifested by severe headache, stomachache and pain in the limbs. In addition, there are severe swelling and even problems with vision.

Being Overweight and Pregnant: What’s the Danger?

In any case, excess weight during pregnancy prevents the child from growing and developing normally. Sometimes a large accumulation of fat prevents even a normal listening to the child’s heartbeat, which interferes with the normal diagnosis of the fetal condition. In such a situation, all the organs of the mother are under enormous pressure. At the same time, all processes are violated, as a result of which the fetus lacks oxygen and nutrients. This condition is quite alarming, since everything can end with hypoxia or even cause various defects in the development of the fetus.

Quite often pregnant women with excess weight give birth with the help of cesarean section. After all, “big” moms almost always give birth to heavy children. Thus, natural childbirth can be dangerous. At the same time, in some cases, such an operation may also be dangerous, since a large accumulation of abdominal fat contributes to the fact that the operation becomes more complicated, both for the mother and the child.

The Main Causes of Excess Weight during Pregnancy

If you are overweight and pregnant keep in mind that weight can also increase from the hormonal changes that occurred actually because of the pregnancy itself. As you know, the violation of the level of hormones in the body almost always contributes to the appearance of extra pounds.

overweight and pregnant. woman with overweight

Also, if you are overweight and pregnant it may be quite difficult for you to move and walk. That is why, the inactive way of life leads to gaining even more extra pounds.

Pregnant women have a very good appetite. As the baby grows bigger, the appetite only improves. In addition, often pregnant women want a harmful and high-calorie food, which in itself contributes to the accumulation of excess fat.

What’s the Danger of Excess Weight during Pregnancy?

Excess weight during pregnancy can cause the development of diseases, both in a woman and in the fetus:

  • cardiovascular pathology, including the development of hypertension;
  • varicose veins (do not forget about hemorrhoids);
  • development of gestational diabetes mellitus;
  • miscarriage and premature birth;
  • severe gestosis with increased pressure, the appearance of edema and dangerous complications (preeclampsia and eclampsia);
  • pathology of the spine;
  • complications in childbirth (poor uterine contraction strength, obstetric fetal injuries, bleeding);
  • prolonged pregnancy;
  • the probability of cesarean section is high;
  • development of intrauterine fetal hypoxia;
  • urinary tract infections;
  • the birth of a large fetus;
  • a difficult examination of the pregnant (due to excess weight it is impossible to listen to the heartbeat).

If You Are Overweight and Want to Get Pregnant, You Will Probably Have to Lose Weight

As for the rate of weight loss, it is not recommended to lose weight very quickly. Physiological loss of body weight with a dynamics of 8-15 pounds per month is considered safe. And this is not so much in the case of pronounced obesity. Of course, strict diets, for example, hypocaloric (less than 1200 kcal / day) or a protein one can bring better results. You can lose more weight and do it faster, but this regime of weight loss will be non-physiological. And in this case it is especially important to lose weight not at any cost, but physiologically, with the help of proper nutrition and reasonable physical exertion.

overweight and pregnant. overweight woman preparing vegetables in kitchen

To plan the forthcoming reproductive procedures, each patient needs to select an individual weight loss program. After all, research proves that 80% of women who lose at least 10-15% of their weight improved their reproductive function without additional treatment.

If Pregnancy Occurs In Spite of Excess Weight, Will Everything Be Fine?

Getting rid of excess weight is important not only to get pregnant, but also for the safe formation of the fetus and the bearing of the baby. Being overweight and pregnant creates the risk of developing intrauterine anomalies in a child. In this case, the detection of developmental defects is physically difficult. It is very hard to perform ultrasound diagnostics because of a big layer of fat. And, therefore, some serious problems can remain unnoticed. Thus, doctors will not be prepared to provide the baby with adequate help during birth.

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