Pre-pregnancy overweight poses a risk to mother and child

Women should ensure pre-pregnancy weight is normal.

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iStock.com/Zukovic

Women who have a normal body weight before pregnancy have a head start on those women who are overweight. Conversely, pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity mean higher health risks for the expectant mother and her unborn child. That is the finding of an international joint study in which the participating scientists evaluated the data of more than 196,000 women from 25 studies in Europe and North America. According to these studies, a healthy body weight before pregnancy is more important for the well-being of mother and child than the mother’s weight gain during pregnancy. This led the scientists to recommend that mothers should ensure their body mass index (BMI) is within the normal range even before they become pregnant.

The ‘Maternal Obesity and Childhood Outcomes’ study conducted by the international LifeCycle Project research group focussed on the association of so-called gestational weight gain, i.e. weight gain during pregnancy, with the adverse consequences for the mother or her child. The researchers wanted to find out the ideal weight for the mother prior to conception and the optimal number of extra pounds for a mother and her child during pregnancy. They concluded that expectant mothers and their children would clearly benefit if mummy had a normal figure before getting her ‘bump’.

A weight-regulating diet based on Almased can therefore also be helpful when it comes to family planning. If necessary, a woman can use the tried and tested power drink to regulate her body weight within the normal range before she becomes pregnant. There is no risk of malnutrition because Almased with its high-quality ingredients provides her body with the nutrients it needs. And the expectant mother does not have to pursue a tiring weight-loss regime that taxes not only her body but also her psyche. Instead, she can optimise her weight with the certainty that she will lose the unnecessary pounds later with an intelligent strategy and thus create the best possible conditions for herself and her child. In this way, Almased also helps expectant mothers reach their goal safely and reliably.

Clear correlation between BMI and complications

When they evaluated the data, the researchers found a striking correlation between the occurrence of complications during pregnancy and a woman’s pre-pregnancy BMI. Only about a third of normal-weight women experienced pregnancy-related problems, while around half of the mothers who were clearly overweight at the beginning of their pregnancy (BMI 30 to 34.9) experienced complications. This figure rose to around 56 per cent for those women who had a pre-pregnancy BMI of 35 to 40 and was around two-thirds for obese women with a BMI of more than 40.

According to the doctors, the complications experienced included pregnancy poisoning (pre-eclampsia), which can cause problems for mothers with high blood pressure, water retention, nausea and vomiting, which can cause problems after childbirth for mother and child, gestational diabetes, caesarean section, premature birth before the 37th week of pregnancy, or a conspicuously small or large infant.

And further studies have now shown that the children of women who were severely overweight at the beginning of their pregnancy are also exposed to an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves later – which in turn entails the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disorders. In contrast, the scientists rate the risks associated with weight gain during pregnancy as being very low. They regard this as an important finding for women who are contemplating becoming pregnant.

Having a normal body weight before pregnancy is therefore more important for the health of the mother and her child than the pounds she gains during pregnancy. It is the reason why experts advise would-be mothers to think about their weight and having a healthy metabolism before becoming pregnant. Almased, with its valuable nutrients, can be an invaluable help. However, experts warn against trying to lose weight during pregnancy: this can lead to deficiencies for the expectant mother and her unborn child.

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