Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Overweight And Pregnancy

In cultures where overweight is a problem, the word has pretty well gotten out about the benefits of weight loss. In the United States for example, statistics indicate that a large majority of the population is overweight. How large of a majority? How about two-thirds. Put another way, only one-third of people in the US are not overweight. This really is a stunning reality, and it has led to a wave of public information about the dangers of being overweight.

Most people in the US then are aware that being overweight can lead to a host of health problems. Some of the health problems linked to overweight include increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even certain kinds of cancer. There is an additional problem linked to overweight that typically doesn't get much consideration however: the link between women being overweight and a difficulty with getting pregnant.

Having trouble getting pregnant may not seem as significant as having a heart attack or stroke, but it is a real consideration for some people. Though the data is not necessarily clear-cut, there seem to be a number of reasons why overweight women can have difficulty conceiving. One reason may have to do with a particular hormonal imbalance. Leptin is a hormone that's typically deficient in people who are overweight. Leptin is thought to play a role in appetite regulation and energy levels. Leptin may also be linked to fertility levels in women: the lower the levels of Leptin in a woman's body, the more difficult it may be for a woman to conceive.

A second link between overweight and a difficulty getting pregnant is thought to be the ovulation cycle. Women who are overweight and obese can have ovulation cycles that are abnormal and even non-existent. The problem here of course is that ovulation is when a woman's fertility capacity is replenished and renewed. Without the capacity for fertility to begin with, pregnancy is not just difficult but impossible. A final possibility is that a woman who's considerably overweight simply may not possess the good health needed for the conception process to take place. Contrary to what may be popular belief, conception isn't an automatic process: conception occurs more easily in women who are younger and in good overall health.

It's important to bear in mind that weight gain during a pregnancy is an absolutely normal and appropriate process. What may be problematic is excess body weight before pregnancy takes place. Not only may a normal body weight increase the odds of conception occurring, it will also almost certainly improve the likelihood for a healthy and normal pregnancy term.

Zinn Jeremiah is a freelance writer. For help with weight loss, visit weight loss help or weight loss program.

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