Obesity & Motherhood
Written By: Emma Squillace
Fighting obesity is difficult enough before children come into the picture, but can get even more challenging when they do. From excess weight causing potential fertility problems, to pregnancies getting in the way of future weight loss, the ties between motherhood and obesity are complex. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that future moms and current moms may have to deal with obesity.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common condition that can make getting pregnant more difficult. This condition often leads to frequent menstrual periods, excess body hair, acne breakouts, and hormonal issues that can affect fertility. Obesity is correlated with PCOS, and often patients with PCOS have a particularly difficult time losing weight. For some, PCOS may also lead to Type 2 Diabetes. The good news is that even though weight loss can be notably more challenging with PCOS, that weight loss has been shown to decrease symptoms and increase fertility in many cases.
Being at a high weight (or a low weight) can lead to more trouble getting pregnant. The extra fat that someone carries when they are obese, can cause hormonal changes. These changes can make ovulation and successful pregnancy more difficult. Studies have found that this is not just the case for women. Men who are obese can also have hormonal fluctuations that lower their likelihood of fathering a child. Another potential side effect of obesity for women is insulin resistance. Not only can this cause diabetes, but it can decrease the chance of releasing healthy eggs, and can interfere with your menstrual cycle. The good news is that losing weight before pregnancy or IVF has been shown to improve many of the reasons fertility can be decreased.
Obesity is linked to not only a harder time getting pregnant, but more complications. Some patients come to West Medical to lose weight before starting a family, because of the many potential difficulties they face at a higher weight. Specifically, a mother with obesity has been linked with a higher likelihood of: miscarriage, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and blood clotting. Mothers with obesity also have a higher risk of needing labor to be induced, having longer labors, requiring a C section, and having a stillbirth.
The changes during pregnancy can alter a woman’s body permanently. Pregnancy can make future weight loss more difficult, and some of our patients point to their first pregnancy as the start of their inability to lose a significant amount of weight. On a positive note, breastfeeding is associated with an increased loss in abdominal fat for moms who have just given birth. It is very normal for your body to hold on to fat after giving birth. You had substantial hormonal changes during the previous 9 months, and major changes to your body. It is important to be patient with yourself and your body after having a baby, and eat well to regain your strength. If, after a year, you are unable to lose baby weight, a consultation with a weight specialist may help you understand your struggle and your options.
No matter what phase of your life you are in, your weight is critical to your health. If you are thinking about having a baby, your weight could also affect your ability to get pregnant as well as the health of your growing baby. If you have already had children, and find that you are unable to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight like you could before, you are not alone. The hormonal changes during pregnancy can make future weight loss more difficult, as can the natural aging process.
At West Medical, we are here to help you understand your weight loss options at any phase of life. Please call us at (855) 690-0565 if we can answer any questions for you about surgical or non surgical weight loss options. Our understanding, expert team is happy to speak with you anytime.