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To know if you’re overweight or obese, find out your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant. BMI is a calculation based on your weight and height.
What kinds of pregnancy complications can overweight and obesity cause?
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more likely than pregnant women at a healthy weight to have certain medical problems during pregnancy. The more overweight you are, the higher your risk for problems. These problems include:
Some of these problems, like preeclampsia, can increase your chances of preterm birth. Preterm birth is birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. This is too soon and can cause serious health problems for your baby.
Can overweight and obesity during pregnancy cause problems for your baby?
Most babies of overweight and obese women are born healthy. But overweight and obesity during pregnancy can cause health problems for your baby. These include:
What can you do before pregnancy to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby?
Get a preconception checkup. This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy. Your health care provider can help you with ways to eat healthy and exercise. This can help you lose weight before you get pregnant.
Check out choosemyplate.gov, an online tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It can help you with a healthy eating plan based on your age, weight, height and physical activity.
What can you do during pregnancy to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby?
Here’s what you can do:
Does weight-loss surgery reduce your chances of pregnancy complications?
Yes. More than 50,000 women each year in the United States have weight-loss surgery. Women who lose weight after weight-loss surgery are less likely than obese women who haven’t had surgery to have fertility problems. They’re also less likely to have pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. And their babies are less likely to be born too early or with birth defects.
If you have weight-loss surgery, your provider may recommend that you wait at least 1 year after surgery before you try to get pregnant. You may lose a lot of weight really quickly during that year after surgery. If you’re pregnant, this rapid weight loss could cause problems for your baby.
It’s not common, but weight-loss surgery can cause pregnancy complications for some women. If you’ve had weight-loss surgery, tell your surgeon right away if you have pain in your belly during pregnancy. You may need to be checked for blocked intestines or similar problems.
Remember that you don’t have to have weight-loss surgery to lose weight. Healthy eating, exercise and other lifestyle changes can help you lose weight without surgery. Talk to your provider about your pregnancy plans and how weight-loss surgery may affect them.See also: Tracking your weight gain, Preconception health care