Hey mummies(-to-be)! Still on the topic of being prepared ahead of pregnancies. Our focus today is on body weight. Did you know your weight before pregnancy affects your fertility before conception and throughout the trimesters? Let’s dive in…

It is not enough to visually describe yourself or another as big or fat. Body mass index (BMI) is the proper assessment tool used to determine whether a person is overweight or obese based on the height of the individual. In simpler terms, how ‘big’ you are depends on how tall you are. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9kg/m2; any figure lower is underweight and higher is overweight or obesity.

Hormones are important in regulating the reproductive system. Aside from the ovaries, fat cells are also involved in estrogen synthesis. Too few of these cells (underweight) result in anovulation and irregular menstrual cycles which affects fertility. If no eggs are formed, no fertilization takes place. During pregnancy, being underweight increases the risk of premature babies and having babies with low birth weight. On the other hand, too many of these cells (overweight/obese) also affect ovulation with the added risk of miscarriage and other conditions like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.

Here are a few lifestyle habits to follow to have a healthy weight before conceiving;

  • Eat healthy balanced meals to get all essential nutrients
  • Practise a physically active lifestyle by engaging in regular exercises indoors and outdoors
  • Indulge your junk cravings once in a while and include more healthy snacks in your diet
  • Take time to engage in fun leisure activities to de-stress for a good mental health
  • Use smaller plates and bowls to help you control your food portions
  • Include your spouse/partner in your new habits for effective results. Remember you’re a team!

If you’re already pregnant, there’s a recommended amount of weight to gain during pregnancy depending on your preconception BMI to promote healthy development of the foetus.

Visit a dietitian for a personalised consult.

By Ansaba

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