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Do I have to lose weight to get pregnant?

Pregnancy is an emotional time for every woman. There are so many exciting milestones to cherish, but there are inevitably some concerns along the way. For women who are overweight or obese, the number of health risks increase significantly and can cause additional complications that strike both physically and psychologically.

how to lose weight when pregnant

A recent study published in February 2018[1] found that more first-time mums are now overweight or obese, which is causing the number of avoidable complications to increase relatively. The rate of overweight women increased from 12.7% (1990–1994) to 16.4% (2010–2014), while the incidence of obesity rose from 4.8% to 7.3% in the same time frame.

Women who are overweight or obese are significantly more likely to incur complications including:

  • pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure
  • baby that is large for gestational age
  • gestational diabetes
  • caesarean deliveries
  • baby that is small for gestational age
  • post-partum haemorrhage
  • admissions to special care nursery
  • prematurity
  • foetal abnormality
  • miscarriage

It is recommended that in order to prepare for the safest possible pregnancy, birth and post-partum period, overweight and obese women lose weight before becoming pregnant. The benefits extend to women and their babies, which is great motivation for women who are planning to start or extend their families.

However, for overweight or obese women who are already pregnant, research has shown that weight loss under medical supervision can be effective and safe. It can help to minimise complications and lead to safer outcomes for mum and baby.

In any case, pregnancy is a powerful time and women should feel confident about the journey on which they are embarking.


[1] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/208/3/population-attributable-fractions-perinatal-outcomes-nulliparous-women

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