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Is it worse to be older or fatter when having a baby?

(33 Posts)
Pikawhoo Tue 13-Sep-16 22:25:27

Please indulge my curiosity here. A friend in her mid 30s has asked me what I think about her waiting a few years to lose weight before getting pregnant with her third (and final, if it happens) child. I said I thought she should go for it, but that I didn't have any medical evidence for that, it was just based on the sense that she might be leaving it too late if she waited. She definitely wants another child. She's very overweight, perhaps a size 20, but otherwise active and healthy. My doctor was critical of my weight when I was pregnant and around a size 14, though, so I'm wondering if the potential problems might outweigh the benefits?

So, I'm turning to the hive mind. When considering getting pregnant, would you think it would be worse to be:

- overweight or obese and younger?

- Or slimmer and older?

And why? Thanks in advance!

JellyBelli Tue 13-Sep-16 22:27:16

MIL is a midwife and from what I can gather, I think it works out that if you are older theres a a higher risk to the baby, and if you are fatter theres a higher risk to you.
But dont quote me.

WorraLiberty Tue 13-Sep-16 22:28:15

What age do you consider to be 'older'?

cloudyday99 Tue 13-Sep-16 22:29:14

Couldn't she try to lose weight over 12-18 months? Then she wouldn't be much older, but could be quite a bit slimmer.

Tootsiepops Tue 13-Sep-16 22:30:41

Can't wait to see how this thread is going to go. I'm 37 and a size 20 grin Daughter is 9 months old.

Sparklesilverglitter Tue 13-Sep-16 22:32:32

I don't think age matters if the person is fit and healthy I am 39 and just have my first (and last baby) I have always been healthy and pretty fit.

I think it's better to be older and slimmer

Champagneformyrealfriends Tue 13-Sep-16 22:33:04

I think that Jelly is correct-older is a bigger risk to baby, overweight is a bigger risk to mum.

Eatthecake Tue 13-Sep-16 22:34:14

I have just had my 4th baby at 48 years old, I have always been healthy and fit.

Being older didn't worry me, being overweight would because your just going to get bigger in pregnancy. So for me I think older and slimmer is best

LottieDoubtie Tue 13-Sep-16 22:34:18

I had this choice and went for younger and fatter. DS was absolutely fine but I did have a horrendous pregnancy- HG is not fun but of course there is no way of knowing whether or not I would have still got it if I was slim. (The duchess of Cambridge being a cracking example of a thin HGer)

I can tell you that for DC2 I am aiming for slimmer and older though.

OwlinaTree Tue 13-Sep-16 22:38:11

Well, afaik being overweight can be at factor in fertility, hence why you have to get to a certain weight/bmi to do ivf for eg.

You are offered ivf if you are under 42 and have a bmi under 30 according to the NHS website, so presumably if your friend loses weight she's got a better chance of concieving.

frozenfairy123 Tue 13-Sep-16 22:41:06

Younger and fatter I would say. The older u get the quality of your eggs goes down, this means the baby is more likely to have problems or to have problems conceiving in the first place. Doesn't mean u won't be lucky and get a good healthy one though. There is no reason why u can't loose weight whilst pregnant and morning sickness may well help with that.

GreatFuckability Tue 13-Sep-16 22:44:32

I was a size 18 with my first, a 14 with my second and a 20 with my third. didn't make any huge difference, and nothing was ever said by any health professional regarding my weight. I was healthy enough throughout (if you discount the raging HG and SPD!).

so i'd not wait.

Oysterbabe Tue 13-Sep-16 22:47:41

I reckon she should crack on. I'd be more concerned about aging eggs than anything else.

Ginkypig Tue 13-Sep-16 22:47:54

I think they both come with own own set of possible problems.

I think the word there is possible though and to be honest only with a full picture of someone's lifestyle genetics and other factors combined would give an idea of what the possibility of things that could go wrong and even then only an expert would be able to advise.

Pikawhoo Tue 13-Sep-16 22:51:01

"I think they both come with own own set of possible problems." Exactly, ginkypig

PacificDogwod Tue 13-Sep-16 22:51:23

I really don't know the answer to your question <helpful>, but I would advise your friend to get cracking on with TTC while making changes to her lifestyle/diet to be as healthy as she can be - who knows how long it is going to take her to conceive?? And should she become pregnant quickly she has 9 months to continue her healthy life style and maintain her weight while the pregnancy progresses. There are many hospitals that run specialist clinics for very overweight expectant mothers.

I'd not wait.
And I am saying that as somebody who had 4 DC between the ages of 37 and 44 AND while being overweight.

WorraLiberty Tue 13-Sep-16 22:55:21

I actually think she should go and ask her GP's advice.

They'll obviously have her medical records and can measure her BMI etc

UnderTheGreenwoodTree Tue 13-Sep-16 23:06:45

She'd be better off compromising - she could lose a substantial amount of weight in a year if she set her mind to it, and every bit off will give her a better pregnancy. A better chance at pregnancy too, so I'm told.

Dollykazaver Tue 13-Sep-16 23:13:05

Anyone can lose weight but you can't make your eggs any younger. And that's without taking into account any male factor fertility issues that might occur.

Get on with it and swerve the pies.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Tue 13-Sep-16 23:27:22

Some may see your thread as sizist and ageist, just saying.
I'm 40 over weight. No intentions of losing weight. My life is no longer ruled by the scales. Love and accept me for who I am or don't love and accept me at all. Anyway
Amen and all that.
Now on to the point.
Despite being over weight. I'm TTC and I feel younger and more energetic now than I ever did in my 20s.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Tue 13-Sep-16 23:29:36

I had this exact dilemma last year and agonised about it for ages... Needless to say DS is now 4 months old! The desire to have a baby just overtook everything else. Reassure your friend that while being overweight isn't ideal, it's not always problematic. I had a trouble free pregnancy and straightforward birth. The only thing I hated was not having a lovely neat little bump and people being (I imagine) slightly nervous to assume that I was pregnant rather than just carrying a huge pizza baby wink

GoldenWorld Tue 13-Sep-16 23:29:46

What's her BMI? I can't figure out what a size 20 would be. If it's 30, that's fine. 35, a good idea to lose weight but certainly doesn't have to spend years losing weight, maybe 6 months. If it's 40 or above, she should definitely try and lose weight.

Personally, I worry far more about BMI because of bad experiences seeing anaesthetists struggling to intubate women who are very overweight because their necks are large and it is terrifying to watch. Higher chance of c-section, shoulder dystocia, infection, gestational diabetes, stillbirth. Obesity does carry a lot of risks, especially to the mother as someone else said. But being older carries a few of those risks as well and it's not an either/or choice necessarily unless she's extremely overweight. Depends on her obstetric history as well.

I think it would be a good idea to see her GP or similar for pre conception advice.

Dollykazaver Tue 13-Sep-16 23:53:37

Iliveinalighthouse the single biggest factor BY FAR in fertility is female age. Sadly it's a highly ageist thing.

BeMorePanda Wed 14-Sep-16 00:07:16

I was old and fat - size 18-20, age early 40's. Not once did anyone comment on my size or age apart from factually.

I was quite surprised, but no shits were given.

I'd say go young. Losing weight twice is tough.

sycamore54321 Wed 14-Sep-16 00:32:41

In a particular individual's case, I'd say it also depends on her weight pattern. Why is she now so overweight and why does she believe that waiting X time will guarantee that she will reach her desired TTC weight in that period. Several years seems like a long time to plan for even extreme weight loss. Has her weight yo-yoed before? Is there one specific, non-recurring cause for her weight gain (eg she has been immobile for a year following surgery or injury by is now ready to be active again)? Or is weight maybe a response to other factors in her life and would the stress of TTC have an impact on her maintaining the healthy weight if/when she gets there?

And her previous obstetric history would be relevant. Was she overweight for those babies? Ant history of risks that can be increased by being overweight, like large babies or shoulder dystocia?

For age, what age did her mother or other sisters reach menopause? Is that average, early or late? Any reason to be concerned about fertility like PCOS, scarring from any previous surgeries or investigations, history of menstrual complications, hormonal problems, etc.

There are so many variables in it all that really all she can do is ask a medical professional who knows her full history their opinion of the risks as they apply to her. And as we all know, very little about TTC, apart from the decision to cease using contraception, is in our control anyway so she could put the optimum age and weight conditions in place and still encounter problems.

Really it is only a decision she can make for herself, with the baby's father. It is an interesting discussion point though, with the only definitive answer being "it depends".

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