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Does being underweight affect child birth?

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Q/ Dear doctor,
I have always been told that I am too small and underweight. Is it true that being underweight may have a possible risk to childbirth? How do I gain weight in a healthy way? Edwinah.

A/ Hello Edwinah,
Yes, it is true both weight extremities may have an effect on childbearing.

The body mass index (BMI), a ratio of a person’s weight to their height, has traditionally been used to assess the health of a person as it pertains to weight.

Under the cut-off point at a BMI of 18.5, a person is considered underweight. The calculation is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters, squared.

The primary way that being underweight compromises a woman’s fertility is by creating an imbalance in hormones that play a role in ovulation.

Underweight women are more likely to miss periods or have an irregular menstrual cycle, both of which make it much more difficult to conceive.

How to gain weight
The following habits will help you gain weight:
Eat more frequent meals throughout the day.
- Choose options such as lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. These are: fish, chicken, beans, peas, oats, millet, corn, brown rice, milk, avocado, eggs etc.
- Avoid filling up on liquids before meals.
- Adopt an exercise routine that includes strength-building.

Avoid gaining weight by increasing intake of “empty” calories, or those foods that are high in fats and sugars, especially fast foods and preserved drinks.

Answered by
Dr Joseph Kafuuma.

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