>Pregnancy & Obesity

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I read with interest an article in The Guardian the other day regarding obese women and the fact that more should be done to assist them to lose weight prior to becoming pregnant. The reason it was so interesting to me is that I am overweight and my partner and I want a baby. I have tackled this so far by losing 4 and a half stone, but I’m still overweight and struggling to get past this “milestone”.

Babyworld suggests the risks of being seriously overweight in pregnancy are:

It puts extra strain on your heart which is already working harder than usual and can also lead to back problems because the muscles and ligaments relax during pregnancy, making it easier to pull muscles. There is some evidence that being very overweight in pregnancy can increase your blood pressure and may put you at greater risk of the serious high blood pressure disease, pre-eclampsia. You may be more at risk of developing pregnancy diabetes and may have a harder birth if you’re less mobile. Research has also suggested a link between excessive weight gain and having a Caesarean birth.

Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, is quoted in The Guardian as stating:

“We have said in our Maternity Standards document that pre-pregnancy counselling and support, both opportunistic and planned, should be provided to women of childbearing age with serious existing medical conditions including obesity (BMI > 30)”, he said.

“This requires a multi-disciplinary approach with GPs and midwives to encourage women to achieve an appropriate weight level during the pre-conception stage. It is something which needs to be handled sensitively but we need to point out to women the long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle for them and their children.”

So do I think that pre pregnancy counselling and support around weight loss would help me? Possibly. However weight loss counselling from a GP is highly unlikely and even if they referred you on to someone else no doubt you’d wait years as you do for any other form of counselling, by which time you could already be pregnant or have lost weight on your own. Maybe subsidised gym or slimming club memberships are the answer, but then they aren’t available for us fatties in some Primary Care Trust areas, that is if the initiative hasn’t been completely quashed by the new Government by now. So what else could the health service offer, slimming pills maybe? But some doctors don’t like prescribing them, like mine doesn’t, so that gets me pretty much back to square one again. However even though I have hit a plateau with my weight loss I see the overall “goal” of having a baby and being fitter and healthier in general something that will keep me going regardless of whether there is a support system available for me, after all food, like any addiction, is something you can only kick if you really want to and no matter what support is available to you, you wont beat it if you don’t want to.

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