Reaching a healthy weight before pregnancy

May 27, 2021

Dr. Lori Munsie, OB-GYN with Clark Just For Women Health Solutions

By Dr. Lori Munsie, OB-GYN, Clark Just for Women Health Solutions

The months before you get pregnant are the best time to take steps to be healthier. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should try to reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant, as being underweight or overweight may cause problems during pregnancy.

Our team of OB-GYNs at Clark Just for Women Health Solutions can help you find out if your weight might be an issue for your pregnancy – and help you make a plan to reach a healthier place before you add to your family.

How can being overweight or obese cause problems during pregnancy?

Excess weight during pregnancy is associated with several pregnancy and childbirth complications, including:

  • high blood pressure
  • preeclampsia
  • preterm birth
  • gestational diabetes

Obesity during pregnancy also increases the risk of:

  • macrosomia, or when a baby grows more than expected
  • birth injury
  • cesarean birth
  • birth defects, especially neural tube defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord

If your OB-GYN or other obstetric care provider suggests that you try to lose weight, keep in mind that losing even a small amount of weight may improve your overall health.

The best way to lose weight is by making changes in your diet and by being more physically active. Cutting back on your daily calories is a good first step. An easy way to cut calories is to avoid sugary drinks, such as sodas. Also, pay attention to the amount of food you eat. Portion control is key.

Try to do 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on 2 days or more a week. You can divide those minutes into shorter workout sessions throughout the week. For example, you can do a 30-minute workout 5 days per week. Set up a routine that works best for you.

Can being underweight cause problems with pregnancy?

Yes, being underweight increases the risk of having a baby with a low birth weight. Low-birth-weight babies are at risk of problems during labor and after birth. Being underweight also increases the risk of preterm birth.

If your OB-GYN or other obstetric care provider suggests that you try to gain weight, start by taking in more calories each day than you burn through daily activity and exercise. Eat healthy, high-calorie snacks every day. Some good choices include:

  • nuts
  • granola bars
  • meal replacement shakes
  • fruit smoothies
  • yogurt

We are here to help you have a successful pregnancy. Schedule a preconception visit with us by calling 812-280-7063, and we’ll guide you every step of the way. For more information about Clark Just for Women, visit our page.