Need To Reduce Your Weight Before Conceiving? What Are Your Healthiest Options?

If you've been informed by your doctor that you need to drop some weight before you can safely carry a child to term, you may be feeling a whirlwind of emotions — and for those who have spent years (or decades) trying to lose weight and keep it off, such advice may be tantamount to telling you you'll never be able to bear a child. Fortunately, there are some methods (some of which you can implement today, and some of which may require a surgeon's assistance) that may be able to help you lose weight and improve your fertility. Read on to learn more about your healthiest and most effective ways to lose weight before becoming pregnant.

Go on a fertility diet

After you conceive, you become your unborn child's primary food source for the next nine to ten months — and if you don't consume all the nutrients he or she needs to grow, your baby will simply take them from your body on his or her own. This can lead to a loss of bone density (as your infant siphons calcium away from your bones) or other vitamin deficiencies that last long after your baby is born.

As a result, you'll want to begin incorporating fertility- and pregnancy-friendly foods into your diet sooner, rather than later, even if you're planning a more invasive weight loss method like gastric bypass surgery. Doing so can build up your own reserves and ensure that you're in the best physical shape you can be even before you conceive.

You'll want to start with foods high in folate — and while a number of breakfast cereals and other food items have been fortified with folate, one of the best (and lowest-calorie) sources is leafy greens. Adding kale or spinach to a few meals a week can be a flavorful way to improve your diet. Focusing on omega 3 fatty acids (like those found in fish and nuts) can also be a good plan, although you'll want to temper these fatty acids with a decrease in your consumption of fried or processed foods. 

Consider your surgical options

In some cases, even the most restrictive diets or cardio-pumping exercise regimens aren't enough to permanently reduce your weight. If you feel as though you've tried every diet to no avail and are more than just a few pounds overweight, you may want to explore your surgical options like gastric bypass, gastric sleeve surgery, or another type of weight loss surgery. The recovery time can be lengthy, so you may need to put your fertility plans on hold until you've been cleared by your bariatric surgeon, but weight loss surgery may be the best path to parenthood for many women who have struggled with their weight for years.