It was my first day of lecture in the course ‘Nutrition Through the Lifecycle’ and we started from the beginning, preconception. Nutrition while trying to conceive, and throughout pregnancy is very important for the health of the baby. Women 10-15% over, or under, weight can have problems conceiving and can also give birth to babies with a variety of health problems.
To me it seems obvious that eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are an important part of being healthy while pregnant. (And really all of the time) Limiting exposure to lead, stress, and alcohol is also an important part of ensuring the health of mother and child; both before conception and while carrying the baby to term. One of the more surprising aspects of this lecture though was the issue of conceiving too soon after a gastric bypass surgery. This surgery puts a lot of stress on the body and it is recommended to wait to become pregnant at least 18 months after the surgery. However, rapid weight loss can start to balance factors such as a regular cycle and increases the chances of a women becoming pregnant too soon. Additionally a gastric bypass procedure works in part by blocking absorption of fats and consequently nutrients and medicine. Because the this the body will absorb less of each dose of an oral contraceptive and can also cause pregnancy before the body is ready to support it.
It seems there can be many risks to artificial weight loss and pregnancy is one of them.
Side note: It is worth mentioning that good nutrition in men also plays a role in conception. If men are 10-15% over, or under, weight they too can have problems with conception. Over or under nutrition can cause deformed sperm and lower sperm counts which will decrease the chances of the man’s partner becoming pregnant.