Starting a family or adding a new member to your family is a wonderful experience. However for many couples, it can be a difficult journey both physically and emotionally.
Weight is an important consideration for either partner while trying to conceive. Being overweight or obese can have wide-ranging detrimental effects on fertility and cause complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The physiological effects of obesity can be detrimental to natural conception, IVF success rates, pregnancy and childbirth. Whilst the mechanisms are varied – as a woman’s BMI increases, so too does the risk of unsuccessful pregnancy or pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, diabetes or premature birth.
Reaching a healthy weight will give you the best chance to achieve your dream of starting, or continuing your family. A recent systematic review reported an average weight loss of 5 kg in women who were aiming to conceive who were enrolled in diet and exercise studies. In these women, there was a significant increase in the likelihood of falling pregnant, as well as an increase in the number of babies born, compared to those who didn’t undergo the lifestyle program (Hunter et al, 2021).
Being obese during pregnancy increases the risk of various pregnancy complications, including:
We know that weight loss of up to 1kg^ per week in women can be achieved through our program. Losses of 1kg per week can add up to 16kg to 20kg within a meaningful time frame. Some people can achieve faster rates – but it’s best to be realistic about what can be achieved and how long it takes. The key is to maintain an energy reduced but balanced diet, control hunger and be active. Importantly those changes should remain as healthy lifetime habits. In addition to weight loss and improved fitness there are a number of important health improvements:
All these health improvements can contribute to becoming pregnant and remaining at a healthy weight during pregnancy and after childbirth.
We’d love to help you, or your partner reach a healthy weight to give you the best chance to achieve your dream of starting, or continuing your family. All of our programs are tailored to your individual needs, so wherever you are on your journey to parenthood, the advice we give is carefully tailored to you and your pregnancy. If you are pregnant or are trying to conceive, you can be assured that our medical, dietetic and exercise advice is always in the best interest of you and your baby.
Hunter E, Avenell A, Maheshwari A, Stadler G, Best D. The effectiveness of weight-loss lifestyle interventions for improving fertility in women and men with overweight or obesity and infertility: A systematic review update of evidence from randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2021 Aug 13:e13325. doi: 10.1111/obr.13325.
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