Prepare the Scale for Pregnancy
Getting your body ready to carry a baby is no easy task... There are prenatal vitamins to take, extra sleep to be had, and perhaps exercise routines to be altered...
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Prepare the Scale for Pregnancy
By Dr. Carrie Gordon, Folsom OB-GYN
Getting your body ready to carry a baby is no easy task... There are prenatal vitamins to take, extra sleep to be had, and perhaps exercise routines to be altered. But one of the most important steps you can take prior to getting pregnant is to get your body to a healthy weight. Carrying around extra weight is never good but it can be especially detrimental when you are trying to conceive.
Improve Your Odds:The most important impact of getting to a healthy weight prior to pregnancy is that it will increase your chances of actually conceiving. Women who are overweight tend to have more problems getting pregnant than those at a healthy weight. Of course, dropping the pounds by drastically cutting calories will be counterproductive: Women who want to conceive need a well-balanced diet filled with a variety of foods that will provide them with the vitamins and minerals their bodies need. When your body is healthy and well-nourished, it will be more ready to nurture a new life!
Enjoy an Easier Pregnancy:Losing weight prior to conception can also make your pregnancy a little easier. Carrying the extra weight of a baby strains your body – if you are already overweight, that strain can be even more intense and uncomfortable. Your weight loss plan prior to pregnancy should include a good exercise program, including some strength training. Strengthening your muscles (particularly your core and back muscles) prior to pregnancy enables your body to accommodate your growing belly better – which in turn means less pain for you.
Decrease Risk for Complications:Most importantly, being a healthy weight prior to and during pregnancy decreases your risk for many complications, both during pregnancy and at delivery. Overweight women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, both serious complications that can lead to bed rest and/or early delivery. Overweight women are more likely to have caesarian deliveries, which can bring added risks. Also, heavier women are more likely to have larger babies, which can complicate the delivery process. How Much to Gain: So what about watching the scale once you conceive? For women of any size, the thought of managing pregnancy weight gain can be overwhelming. For the average woman, 25-35 pounds is normal. If you are already overweight, you should gain less than that during pregnancy – between 15-25 pounds. If your physician has identified your weight as falling into the obese category, your recommended weight gain could be as little as 11-15 pounds. [Work with your physician to identify the appropriate target weight gain for you.] Remember, eating for two does not mean eating twice as much, regardless of your starting weight. Pregnant women typically need only 100-300 additional calories per day.
If you are hoping to get pregnant but are carrying some extra weight, know that you are not alone. More than half of all American women are considered overweight. Talk with your doctor to help determine what an ideal weight will be for you and how best to achieve it. Then, develop a plan to maintain your new, healthier habits during and after pregnancy. Focus on your health and that of your soon-to-be baby and you'll be in great shape!
To learn more about Dr. Gordon and Folsom OB/GYN, visit their website. To learn more about the Family Birth Centers at the Dignity Health hospitals or to find a physician to care for you during pregnancy, visit our website.