Don’t let your weight impact your family expansion plans.

We have all heard the repeated warnings that being overweight is hazardous to our health. You may dismiss these words of caution when you’re only concerned for yourself, but what about the effects of obesity on your unborn child during pregnancy?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and countless other maternal health organizations stress the importance of pre-conception weight. A January 2013 ACOG report lists several complications that frequently arise in overweight or obese pregnant women: gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, cesarean delivery, premature delivery, still birth, and birth defects. The more overweight the woman is, the higher her chance of suffering these dangerous pregnancy complications.

ACOG estimates that more than half of all pregnant women conceive when they’re overweight or obese. Women could potentially avoid this risky situation by visiting their doctors for pre-conception checkups. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that women achieve a BMI under 35 before trying to trying to conceive.

Your Ob-Gyn can provide personalized advice on pre-pregnancy exercise, nutrition, and weight loss. With clearance from your doctor, here are some tips to kick-start your weight loss and increase your chances of having a perfectly healthy bundle of joy.

  •  Know your BMI – There are several useful BMI calculators online you can use to determine your Body Mass Index.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI above 30 is classified as obese. Keep in mind—these only apply to pre-pregnancy calculations.
  • Stay active – Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. You should start hitting this goal at least three months prior to conceiving.
  • Eat healthy – Cut out processed foods and curb your caloric intake. Eat a variety of healthy foods, drink lots of water, and make sure you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Experts recommend taking a pre-natal vitamin, too.
  • Don’t overdo it! – Remember, going overboard with weight loss can be dangerous! Stick to losing one or two pounds per week.