Being overweight isn’t just about how we look, it’s also about how we function. And the effects of even a few pounds of excess weight can be far reaching with raised blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased risk of type 2 diabetes being in most peoples minds. The effects of weight loss are also far reaching, and can sometimes be surprising.
I met up with some colleagues this week, experts in fertility treatment. They wanted to discuss their experience in clinic, where would-be mums have gone on a weight loss programme and conceived naturally without a need for expensive and invasive fertility treatment. Their impression that weight loss in overweight women leads to a greater chance of pregnancy is backed up by previous clinical studies. In fact, in overweight women who lose around 10kg, or a stone and a half of weight, their fertility rate increases 14 fold; in other words, making it 14 times more likely they will fall pregnant. For some women of course it’s not that simple, and many do need the expert care of specialist fertility doctors, but the evidence is there that a healthy weight makes pregnancy more likely, and indeed, safer.
Being prepared for pregnancy means addressing unhelpful lifestyle habits, such as stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol, taking regular exercise, and adopting a balanced nutritious diet. Taking steps to lose any excess pounds and reach a normal body weight before pregnancy might also be the best start you could give your baby.