Can I Have a Healthy Pregnancy If I'm Overweight?

Dec 13, 2023
Can I Have a Healthy Pregnancy If I'm Overweight?
Being overweight during pregnancy can make for specific challenges and, in some cases, may be considered a high-risk pregnancy. These situations underscore the importance of having skilled medical providers on your prenatal care team. Read on to learn more

Carrying excess weight during pregnancy carries certain risks for both mother and baby, including a higher likelihood of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, premature birth, and a higher birth weight. Offspring of mothers who are overweight during pregnancy are more likely to be obese in childhood. 

The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have pregnancy complications. But there are things you can do before and during pregnancy to help you have a healthy baby.

Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Diana Heard and Nicola Maurer, NP of Glendale Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC, in Glendale, Arizona, explain what those are, and break down everything you need to know about being overweight during pregnancy.

How do I know if I’m overweight or obese?

Being overweight means having a BMI (mass body index) between 25.0 and 29.9 before pregnancy, indicating excess body weight derived from muscles, bone, fat, and water. About 75 percent of women in the United States are overweight.

Obesity is defined by a BMI of 30.0 or higher before pregnancy, indicating an excess accumulation of body fat. About 40 percent of women aged 20-39 in the United States are obese.

Proactive management for a healthy pregnancy

Comprehensive care is essential to any pregnancy, especially when managing additional weight. The team at Glendale Obstetrics and Gynecology breaks down their approach.

Regular prenatal care

Attending all your prenatal checkups is imperative. These visits allow your provider to closely monitor your health and the baby’s development. Your provider can quickly identify and manage complications, like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, ensuring timely intervention. Checkups are also an opportunity to discuss concerns and seek professional advice.

Balanced nutrition

Nutrition takes center stage when you’re pregnant. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is crucial—focusing on nutrient-dense foods instead of calorie-dense ones. 

The Glendale team can provide nutrition insights for creating meal plans that meet your nutritional requirements while keeping calories within a healthy range. The goal is to ensure you get proper nutrition to support your baby’s growth and development.

Safe physical activity

Getting regular exercise is good for your health during pregnancy and beyond. Activities such as walking, prenatal yoga, or swimming help manage weight, improve circulation, boost mood, and increase stamina needed for labor and delivery. 

However, consult your provider before starting any exercise program to ensure it’s safe for your situation.

Monitoring weight gain

While it’s ordinary and necessary to gain some weight during pregnancy, it's essential to do so within healthy limits. Our team can help set a target for weight gain based on your pre-pregnancy weight. Tracking your weight gain throughout pregnancy can help make necessary dietary or lifestyle adjustments.

Managing health conditions

If you have preexisting health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, managing them becomes even more critical during pregnancy. You may need medication adjustments, which the Glendale team makes in close coordination with your healthcare provider.

Comprehensive prenatal care

Being overweight during pregnancy means working closely with a healthcare provider to keep you and your baby healthy. 

For all your prenatal care needs, call 602-298-8977 or book an appointment online with Glendale Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC, today.