Obese Pregnancy: Weight Loss Tips

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to eat enough to give your developing baby the vital nutrients they need to grow strong. Most doctors encourage women to gain a little weight during their pregnancy, but what should you do if you’re already obese?

Obese women have a greater risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Their babies also have a higher risk of premature birth and certain birth defects. In the past, doctors didn’t want to promote weight loss during pregnancy for obese women because they were afraid it would hurt the baby. But new research shows that obese women can safely exercise and diet to lose weight without any negative impact on their baby’s well-being.

If you’re obese, you can still have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Read on to find out tips for how to lose weight safely and effectively during pregnancy.

Is it safe to lose weight during pregnancy?

A recent study published in the British Medical JournalTrusted Source found that obese women who were offered diet and exercise counseling during their pregnancy had better outcomes for both mother and baby. The women received information on eating a balanced diet, keeping a food diary, and engaging in light physical activity like walking.

The study found that these interventions, especially dietary changes, were associated with a 33 percent reduced risk of preeclampsia and a 61 percent reduced risk of gestational diabetes. Eating healthfully also reduced the risk for gestational hypertension and preterm delivery.

If you’re obese and pregnant, your pregnancy could be the perfect opportunity to start fresh with a healthy lifestyle.

Am I considered obese?

You’re considered obese if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated using your height and weight. You can enter your information and find out your BMI with an online calculator. Trusted SourceIf you’re obese, you’re certainly not alone. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in every 3 adult women in the United States is obese.

What are the risks if you’re pregnant and obese?

Obesity increases your risk of complications during pregnancy. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of the following:

  • miscarriage
  • gestational diabetes
  • high blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • blood clots
  • heavier bleeding than normal after the birth

These problems can also happen to any pregnant woman, obese or not. But with a higher BMI, the risk increases.