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obesity and pregnancy

Hey everyone!

I'm 36 years old, just about to be married and my husband-to-be and I have recently had a very serious discussion about becoming pregnant. I had never really considered the risks involved in being obese and pregnant but since having this discussion I started looking into the facts. Got me rather scared I must say.

I am 340 pounds at the moment (recently lost 20 pounds) and I'm still losing weight. However, if I have to wait until I get to a weight that is recommended by doctors as being "safer" to get pregnant, I will have to wait at least a year or longer. Thus, I'm in a conundrum.

What I would like is to hear from people who have been (or still are) morbidly obese and have had babies, or know people who are my size who have had babies. Any complications? Are the risks so high that I should avoid becoming pregnant until I've lost a significant amount of weight? Any happy endings out there? I had an acquaintance a couple of years back who had a baby and she had no complications at all, nor were there any problems with the baby. Is she the exception to the rule?

I'm confused. And all this reading of articles has really freaked me out. Geez!

Oh, and as a side note, I just read an article about IVF in England which stated that an organization of IVF doctors wanted to place a ban on obese women getting treatment. Fat bigotry rears its ugly head...again. Seriously ticked me off.

Anyway, would love to hear from you all.


Thu. Jan 10, 8:08pm

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My Experience

I was roughly 344 when i got pregnant and did not experience any complications that were weight related. I did have to go on bed rest but it was for Hyperemesis (severe vomiting) and that can happen no matter your size. I also had a cerclage (stitch in my cervix) because of an incompetent cervix and a previous loss. But again, that can happen no matter what your weight.

I was lucky and had a very good doctor who, at my request, had me meet with a nutritionist and I went on a low-fat/low sugar diet I lost a lot of weight during my pregnancy, but that was do to the Hyperemesis but also in conjunction with a very good diet.

My daughter is very healthy. She has not had any problems with her development and is a very advanced 21-month old. I breast feed for a little over a year and am not back on Weight Watchers losing weight.

Yes, it is better to not be obese when pregnant. But, there are some things you cannot change in such a short time. Try to find a fat-friendly doctor who will work with you. Also, attempt to lose weight WHILE you are trying to get pregnant. Like I said, I had a great doctor.

Thursday, January 10, 2008, 9:01 PM

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I had a friend who was 300 pounds when she got pregnant, the only complications with her was that towards the end her blood pressure sky rocketed. But that can happen even at a normal weight, she also had an issue with retaining a huge amount of fluid but again that happens at a normal weight as well. If you don't already have diabetes I understand your chances are much higher to get gestational diabetes. But again that can happen at any weight. With my first child I was just 18 pounds overweight and I got gestational diabetes and it never went away. My suggestion is stop reading what the internet has to offer, it will do no benefit to you except scare you, and find a good doctor who will support your pregnancy no matter what your weight is at the time. There are millions of women who have healthy babies and pregnancies that are obese. In the meantime keep losing your weight and don't worry, your losing and thats the important thing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008, 11:23 PM

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I'm not an expert, but...

My understanding of the situation is that, yes, all of these complications can happen with women of any size. The concern is that they are MORE LIKELY to happen to obese women. I think any good doctor, fat-friendly or not, will want to monitor you (and your baby) closely.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 5:40 AM

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Not an expert either but ... Lose The Weight First !

There is evidence that indicates that with obesity comes challenges in getting pregnant. With your weight it could take over a year to get pregnant. What happens if you NEVER get pregnant because of your weight.
I think that it is more important for you to be healthy going into the pregnancy, however it will just take some serious discipline. The long term benefits to your health should supercede the desire to get pregnant.
Furthermore, you WILL put on more weight through your pregnancy, which will furthermore endager your health, and make it much more challenging to lose it afterwards.
Without losing the weight you open yourself up to diabetes, high blood preasure just to name a few. Furthermore, don't you want to be able to keep up with your kid, it will be hard to do at 400 lbs.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 8:59 AM

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Get serious about "lifestyle changes" such as eating healthier and exercising more. Be sure that you are comfortable with the changes you make, and that they are resulting in weight loss. You don't have to lose all the weight first, but you definitely need to develop the lifestyle first. It is hard to change a lifestyle, or even keep up with it, when you are pregnant, as your body will be going through a lot. But you will need to keep up with the lifestyle for the sake of your health and your baby's.

Also, talk to your doctor about your plans and get him/her to help you and give you advice about exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, and the risks that you face. You should talk to your doc before trying to become pregnant at any weight, but in particular when you know your risks are higher.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 10:08 AM

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I am 18 lbs. away from my goal weight, and I am waiting until I lose it all before I get pregnant. I wan to be the healthiest I can be for me and my baby. I want to be able to keep up with my toddler when he wants to run and play. I want my baby to have good nutrition and never worry about becoming overweight or obese. I want to give me and my future children the very best healthy mother they can have. I want to solve all of my hang-ups about food and be as mentally sound as I can so that these issues don't get passed down. I'm breaking the cycle.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 10:58 AM

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See a doctor. Start seriously losing the weight now. and thenstart thinking about other alternatives such as adoption.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 11:08 AM

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You know for the first time I feel annoyed at most of these people. I think they have forgotten that the OP has already started the journey towards her weight loss. She has already loss 20 pounds and I'm sure will continue to lose the weight. I also think that any couple could well take over a year to conceive. I don't believe there is any harm in trying while losing the weight. I do think you need to find a good OB who will support you even if you get pregnant tomorrow. As long as you have monthly periods there is no reason you couldn't get pregnant now. Also if everyone waited till they were at their ideal weights there would be a lot less babies in this world. I think if you do get pregnant there is no reason to not have a healthy pregnancy as long as you take care of yourself and eat right and exercise. As far as weight gain during pregnancy it would be more likely the doctors would really monitor you and you would be required to gain less then the typical pregnancy. And as long as you eat well and don't end up gaining 50 pounds while pregnant you should be back at your prepregnancy weight in no time after the birth.

I went into my 1st pregnancy 40 pounds overweight, I was told to gain no more then 25 pounds which I thought was a lot since I was heavy to begin with. All in all I gained 30 pounds and a month after the birth was exactly where I started from. I am pregnant with my 2nd child and still am 30 pounds overweight and have gained 16 pounds so far, I have 6 weeks left. I have no doubt that my healthy eating habits and exercise will enable me to be right back at my pre-pregnancy weight. The women who gain 40+ pounds are just not being carefully and eating "for two" you don't have to do that. I wish you lots of luck and just keep on losing the weight and if you get pregnant you get pregnant and you will deal with whatever comes up. There are tons of obese women who have babies everyday that are perfectly healthy. Just stay on your course because the important thing is not to be a bad example for your kids once they are here.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 11:52 AM

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I am not an expert but agree with some of the previous posters. I would wait until you lose more weight. Your chances of getting pregnant at a healthy weight are greater anyway. Also I would be worried about gaining more weight while pregnant and being close to 400 pounds by the time you give birth! How will you have the energy at that weight?! I would rather be healthy to start for myself and my baby if I were you.
That's just my opinion and granted, I'm not an expert! Good luck either way though.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 11:59 AM

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There is a massive difference between being 30 - 40 lbs overwight, and being OBESE.
It is medically proven that OBESE women have a harder time getting pregnant. The long term health issues are dangerous for anyone suffering from obesity, let alone someone who is pregnant.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 12:14 PM

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You said that you just recently had this discussion so there is no reason to rush. Maybe you should talk to your fiance and set a date to start trying. Give yourself enough time to get married and have a little time as newlyweds while losing some weight. Also go ahead and start taking prenatal viatamins. Then when the date arrives you will be on a solid road to weight loss and healthy eating and it will be easier to stick to while you are pregnant. Pregnancy is hard enough without worrying to death about complications. Compromise, set a date maybe six months or so and do everything you can to be ready to get pregnant. Then plan a really romantic weekend and start trying!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008, 12:44 PM

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Ditto 12:44

Friday, January 11, 2008, 12:58 PM

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Aside from the weight issues, I think you should wait a bit. Of course, this is only my opinion, so feel free to disagree.

I've been married now for a year and four months, and honestly, when people say that the first year is the hardest, I think they're right! About 6 months in (although we had been together for 2 years prior to getting married, and lived together for one), just about everything he did annoyed me, and vice versa. If I were also 6 months pregnant at that time, I think I would've been even more upset!!

Anyway, enjoy your time as newlyweds; you have time. Focus on yourself - your enjoyment of life, and your improved health. This is your time to put yourself first. Don't rush into putting a baby first; once the baby comes, they will be the first priority for the next 20 years!

Friday, January 11, 2008, 2:50 PM

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you're better off waiting a year and getting down to a safer size than trying to get pregnant now and facing possible complications and heartache, which could lead to depression and weight gain.

Friday, January 11, 2008, 9:07 PM

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OP here.

Wow, I'm so glad to see so many of you responding. I want to thank all of you for your comments and advice. Of course I have been thinking about all of what you all said but it's always nice to hear opinions from others rather than just listening to the voice in your own head. Puts things into perspective.

Just to clarify (based on the comments I read)...

At the moment I have absolutely no health problems (eg. high blood pressure, diabetes, etc) and started having regular periods about a year after coming off the pill so I hope that these will be positive factors that may assist in both becoming pregnant when the time comes and staying as healthy as possible during the fact. And yes, I do plan on continuing with my weight loss as diligently as possible. As a few of you said, it's not just a pregnancy issue - at the core it's a health issue, so baby or not, it needs to be done.

As for when we are planning on trying, we pretty much decided that the fall will be the earliest we will embark on that journey. The biggest factor in deciding to wait was so that I could try to get down to a safer weight purely to lessen the risk to the baby and myself.

I know that no one can actually look into the future and foresee what will happen in my case, or anyone else's for that matter, but I knew that this would be a good place to ask for first hand experiences with the matter so again, I would really like to thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts and your encouraging words with me. They are all greatly appreciated! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008, 7:51 PM

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If you are going to actively start trying in the fall I wish you lots of luck. That gives you 9 months to lose some more weight. I bet if your diligent about it and eat healthy and exercise you will be able to lose at least another 40-60 pounds maybe even more. That will definitely be a lot easier on your body, joints and baby. So good luck!

Saturday, January 12, 2008, 11:05 PM

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Hi there,
My name is Lisa Williams, and I'm a producer with a new daytime talk show called THE DOCTORS. I read your story, and I wanted you to know that approximately 1 in 5 pregnant women are obese. We are doing a story about this very soon. Could you give me a call if you are interested in coming on the show to ask our OB/GYN, Dr. Lisa Masterson, your questions? 323.956.8339 is my direct number, and my email is You can check us out at



Sunday, September 14, 2008, 5:11 PM

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Obesity in Pregnancy

The medical professionals have always relied on scare tactics - why? JOB SECURITY! Is a majority of it true? Of course! But that does not indicate in any way that we are all going to eat healthy, exercise, and be well-oiled machines - TO EACH HIS (OR HER) OWN! Everyone's happiness is defined by variables that don't interpret to others with the same value, so how are we supposed to all be the same? We cannot. You are obese. You are aging. You want to have a baby - so why would you allow anyone/anything to stop you? THE BABY'S HEALTH. Like it or not, if you are able to conceive, your automatically a "high-risk" pregnancy case. What does that mean? You may have miscarriages - prepare your heart and soul - you may develop diabetes - can you handle the medicinal regiment associated (shots numerous times a day), and/or can you handle feeling as though you are carrying 24 gallons of milk around all the time? More importantly, will your life accommodate these things? Do you have a strong network of support? People will stare, and they will judge - you may or may not have a fun 40 weeks, you may experience morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy, you may experience a plethora of things. Then again, you might not. You may only have to deal with one or two minor things. You have to do you!

BTW, I know 8 obese women whose pregnancies were fine, few problems, and all 8 healthy babies!

Perhaps I am only optimistic because I am in the same boat, perhaps it is because I am outraged at society.

I'm 34. I'm 5'5 270 lbs. I have an appointment with a fertility specialist in October. I'm not waiting any longer!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 1:42 PM

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There is nothing that says you WILL gain weight during pregnancy, and even so - obese women should control this to around 15 lbs - and FURTHERMORE - all the obese women I k now have lost more than 20 during pregnancy with a nutritionalist.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 1:45 PM

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my email is if you are interested in sharing your journey with another going through the same thing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 1:47 PM

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I am about 40 lbs overweight and would be considered obese by BMI standards. I am a size 14 and 5'2" I weigh 175lbs. Yes I could lose some weight but as a person who has been much heavier at 225Lbs. I feel great at my current weight. We can throw labels of "obese" and "healthy" around as much as we want but every woman knows whether they are eating a balanced diet and get enough activity. Ironically most of the very thin people I personally know have some of the worst dietary and exercise habits, and often are unable regardless of what they eat to gain weight. So in conclusion thin doesn't equal healthy, as fat or obese does not mean unhealthy.

Friday, March 08, 2013, 2:31 PM

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