It’s hard to look at oneself honestly and even harder to admit to the world at large our major flaws but in the spirit of full disclosure (and the fact that ya’ll have seen my pictures) I am not only a woman living with PCOS but also obesity (partly stemming from the PCOS). I have not lived the healthiest of lifestyles. Not to cast blame but before I knew about the PCOS I would try diets and exercise routines and I would get extremely frustrated at the lack of losing weight so I would give up. I’ve been fighting my weight for years. I basically do not know how to live without fighting my weight.
After being diagnosed with PCOS, I started reading, researching and learning. Combined with my recently developed food allergies, I lost almost 46 pounds before getting pregnant again. Even though my Dr. told me he was not too concerned with my weight because of how my body carried it etc. something in me (that little fat girl that has been mocked and pushed down for years) blamed me for my miscarriage. The one thing I have also been labeled and had other’s (and myself) blame me for was being fat so naturally I blame myself and my weight for losing the one thing I wanted most. My Dr. tells me its not true and statistics tell me its not true, but I can’t help but wonder. So I worked really hard and before this pregnancy lost the weight. Is it healthy that I’m so obsessed DURING my pregnancy with my weight creeping up? Probably not. But I take the high risk specialist’s advice seriously when he recommended I don’t gain ANYTHING! I’ve been trying I swear. I did really well until week 14 when the weight started piling on. I’ve gained 6 pounds in the past two weeks without changing my eating habits…which means, I have to change my eating habits to counter act the baby growing. (Baby is already helping in this area by turning me into a vegetarian me thinks. Baby must have been listening to that conversation! LOL)
If you read WTEWYE, it makes fat people out to be monsters if they choose to get pregnant before being “ideal weight.” What they don’t mention is that sometimes you take the risk because if you wait till you have lost all the weight, then you are a lot older and your fertility issues are even further along so you reduce your change of conception and increase your chance of other baby related issues. It’s like being forced to choose between two evils and either way you go you are chancing the health of your baby (and yourself). It’s not a fun place to be and if I think too hard about it, panic and fear sets in at the chance I made the wrong choice and am a horrible person for choosing to bring a baby into this world as a fat mom. I wish I had been diagnosed in my early 20’s and had a longer time frame for counteracting this and my choices may have been different but I didn’t have that choice or time frame to work with.
I found an article that brings up the weight issues in Health magazine (May 2009) called FAT by Ginny Graves. I’m not going to review the article because basically any article talking about obesity in women is a fear mongering article but mostly, they should be. People are more scared of cigarettes than fast food and in today’s society, they probably should be about equal (slight exaggeration but it’s not all together false. A burger may not kill you but a lifestyle of fast food surely will). Here are some facts, quotes etc. from the article that really stand out to me though:
“An astounding two-thirds of American adults, including 65 million women, are overweight or obese- a rise of 10 percent in just a decade. According to a new study, all adults in the United States will be overweight or obese in 40 years” at that rate.
“In fact, an ADA survey recently suggested that people are more afraid of shark attacks and snake bites than diabetes, even though diabetes contributes to more than 230,000 deaths every year-compared with 5-10 a year from sharks and snakes!”
“Being obese can lop as many as 20 years off your life.”
“1 Fat Ratchets up your risk for cancer.
2. Fat can make cancer treatment and recovery difficult.
3. It’s hard on your heart.
4. It makes exercise unappealing.
5. Fat is bad for your brain (more likely to have dementia in later life)
6. It doesn’t do much for your mood (no shit Sherlock)
7. Fat takes a toll on joints.
8. It puts pressure on your bladder.
9. It isn’t good for your other organs.
10. Fat may produce a backlash in the bedroom (low sex drive, performance issues, lack of enjoyment.)
11. It makes some medical tests tricky.
12. It may affect your medical care.
Some Doctors associate obesity with unpleasant character traits, like hostility, dishonesty, and poor hygiene, research has shown. In fact, in a survey of nearly 2,500 overweight and obese women, 69% said they’d been on the receiving end of a doctor’s bias. The result, according to a 2008 report from the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, is that doctors spend less time with overweight patients and are even reluctant to perform preventive screenings and exams. (I have definitely been the victim of weight bias by a Dr. and it was an awful experience).
13. It can interfere with your fertility.
Obesity accounts for 6 percent of infertility cases in women. Too much body fat may produce too much estrogen, which can suppress ovulation. In one study, the probability of getting pregnant declined in women with BMIs higher than 29-and for every one-point increase in BMI, there was a 4 percent lower pregnancy rate. In other research, obese women had high levels of fats and inflammation in the fluid surrounding their eggs, an environment that could affect an egg’s developmental potential. Even a 5-10 percent weight loss may dramatically improve pregnancy rates, but it’s important to establish and maintain a healthy weight before trying to conceive.
14. It makes pregnancy riskier.
Overweight and obese women are more likely to have GD, Pre-E, and cesarean sections-all of which pose risks to mom and baby. They’re also 67 percent more likely to have a miscarriage than normal-weight women, researchers in the UK say. (sigh)
15. It may even affect your baby’s health.
In a study of nearly 15,000 mothers, more than 10,000 of whom had babies with birth defects, it was found that obesity was associated with seven birth defects, including spina bifida, heart defects, shortened limbs, and hernias. (::chews nails in terror::)
16. It may make asthma harder to treat.
17 It keeps you up at night.
18. It makes you less likely to be hired.
19. It can affect your bottom line. (earn less in jobs than normal-weight people).
That’s some pretty scary and powerful stuff. My advice to anyone who is overweight (whether extremely or not) is that you have to make the decisions based on all the factors not just weight but do whatever you can to lose weight before pregnancy and maintain a healthy low-gain DURING pregnancy. It’s not just a physical thing, it’s an emotional thing as well, and I question myself all the time if I can handle what happens should something be wrong with my baby because of what I CHOSE to do. Good luck to anyone with these decisions to make and anyone who is going down this same road. It’s not an easy journey no matter what choices you make.
I’m a 32 year old Obese woman with PCOS and Infertility who chose to get pregnant without losing as much weight as I probably should have versus waiting till I was possibly older with increased issues due to age and PCOS/IF and it haunts me even while I’m ecstatic to be carrying this precious child that I pray every day is healthy and not suffering from my choices.