January 24, 2019

5 Reasons to Lose Weight before Becoming Pregnant – Your Weight can Affect You and Your Baby

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Before getting pregnant is a great time to think about losing weight. A healthy weight during pregnancy can reduce the chance of fertility issues, pregnancy complications and even birth defects.

1. Fertility issues.

Overweight women can have a tougher time getting pregnant. Irregular ovulation can result in more difficulty conceiving, and unpredictable periods mean some expectant moms don’t realize they’re pregnant right away.“The good thing about knowing you’re pregnant earlier is the ability to avoid things harmful to your baby like drugs or alcohol,” said Lorrie Harris-Sagaribay, Program Coordinator with MotherToBaby North Carolina at Mission Fullerton Genetics Center. Pregnant moms who don’t have prenatal care are less likely to know they have serious conditions like high blood pressure.

2. Birth defects.

“While every pregnancy has risks, obesity doubles the risk for some conditions like spina bifida,” explained Jennifer Vickery, Western Coordinator of the North Carolina Pre-Conception Health Campaign at Mission Fullerton Genetics Center. Identifying these defects during pregnancy is more difficult when moms carry extra weight.

3. Pregnancy complications.

Overweight moms are at greater risk of gestational diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can affect the pregnancy and a mom’s overall health.

4. Large baby.

Overweight moms more often have high birthweight babies, making deliveries more difficult. Heavier newborns can suffer shoulder or arm injuries during delivery. Later in life, these babies are more often overweight and develop Type 2 diabetes.

5. Miscarriage or premature delivery.

Women with obesity are more likely to miscarry or deliver prematurely, which can result in longer hospital stays for their newborns. Premature babies can also have lasting effects such as behavioral issues or developmental delays.

Being at an ideal weight can mean a healthier pregnancy for you and your baby. Healthy weights are calculated using body mass index.


Lorrie Harris-Sagaribay, is Program Coordinator of MotherToBaby North Carolina at Mission Fullerton Genetics Center.

Jennifer Vickery, is the Western Coordinator of the North Carolina Pre-Conception Health Campaign at Mission Fullerton Genetics Center.

If you have questions about exposures during pregnancy or breastfeeding, contact MotherToBaby toll-free at 800-532-6302, by text at 855-999-3525 or via email or live chat at MotherToBaby.org.