4 Things You Didn't Know About Pregnancy & Your Weight

pregnant stripesIs there a touchier subject than pregnancy and weight? We all know gaining too much weight -- or starting off overweight before you even get pregnant -- is going to get you some lectures from your doctor. I have friends who gained 60 pounds or more while pregnant, so I have to tread lightly here. But ... new information has come to light about pregnancy and weight. It's going to start out sounding pretty dire, but I think it ends on a hopeful note. Here are four surprising things doctors are learning about the heavy side of pregnancy.

1. Heavier pregnant women tend to deliver prematurely. This is based on a study of 1.5 million Swedish women. Doctors think this is because of the perfect storm of other symptoms associated with being obese or overweight: High blood pressure, insulin problems, etc. But wait, there's more!

2. Obese women have a higher risk of urinary tract infections and vaginal infections. Ugh, exactly what you don't want when you're pregnant (or, well, ever). Isn't pregnancy uncomfortable enough on its own? By the way, these infections also increase the risk of preterm delivery. In fact, bacterial infection is THE greatest risk factor for very early preterm births.

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3. Pregnancy actually IS a good time to lose weight -- for some women. A doctor from the study says, "The concept that we propagated for years that pregnancy is not a good time for weight loss and physical activity is wrong." We've since learned that moderate exercise is great for pregnancy. But the doctors in the study also say losing weight might benefit you if your weight poses other risks to your health and the health of your baby. But here's the silver lining.

4. Pregnancy is a great time to make major changes. "I consider pregnancy to be an ideal time for behavioural modification," one of the doctors says. That's because when you're pregnant, you're already under constant medical care and you're in a more compliant frame of mind because you feel responsibility for this new life growing inside of you.

Do you think knowing that excessive weight could lead to premature births will encourage more pregnant moms to watch their weight?

 

Image via Frank de Klein/Flickr

complications, is it safe, pregnancy health, weight gain