Considering Pregnancy?

Caring for your health before you become pregnant may help you identify areas that put you and/or your baby at risk during pregnancy. First, schedule a pre-conception counseling appointment with your doctor. This discussion can educate you on things to come and help you prepare, both physically and emotionally, for pregnancy.

Here are a few things to consider prior to becoming pregnant.

Your weight - Your doctor will recommend that you achieve a healthy weight before becoming pregnant. If you are overweight, you are at risk for high blood pressure complications during pregnancy. If you are underweight, you are at risk of delivering a low birth-weight baby. What is a healthy weight? Check out the chart below. Important - once you are pregnant, dieting is out of the question. You want to try to achieve your healthy weight prior to becoming pregnant.

Exercise - Generally, if you are currently active, your doctor will advise you to continue your normal exercise routine throughout your pregnancy, as long as there are no complications. However, starting a big exercise program while you are pregnant is typically not recommended. Ask your doctor about exercises appropriate for you and your particular circumstances.

Diet - To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you should follow a healthy, well-balanced diet, including a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Your physician will likely ask you about your caffeine intake as well as your daily consumption of calcium-rich foods, folic acid and vitamins C and A. Supplements are usually recommended, such as a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid.

Planning ahead makes a lot of sense!

Improving health status before becoming pregnant has its advantages:
  • You will feel better.
  • It will help you keep your weight gain during pregnancy within a safe range.
  • It will contribute to a greater sense of well-being.
  • It can reduce your postpartum recovery time.

Directions: Find your weight on the bottom of the graph. Go straight up from that point until you come to the line that matches your height. Then look to find your weight group.

Source: Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2000). This article has been reviewed by Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietician
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Member Comments

im done having babies Report
thanks for sharing Report
Great article...thanks.
.. Report
Great article to point people in the right direction...I actually just had the meeting they suggested with my doctor last week. Glad I did because apparently she prefer women to take a multivitamin with folic acid for a year prior to conception and there are some genetics tests I need to have done. I also let her know I was planning on losing weight to be at a healthy weight for pregnancy...I am concerned about gestational diabetes; but she said that any size of woman potentially could get gestational diabetes and that heavier women are just a higher risk factor.

For those that wanted a eating plan for while pregnant Spark has a baby fit branch of their website: http://babyfit.sp I haven't looked at it yet to see if it has suggestions for pre-conception or not. Report
Interesting article, there is too much push to meet a certian weight using the BMI chart. Losing 10% of your current weight is a great way to start this process. According to the BMI chart I should be under 140... With my body structure that is not healthy for me. Use extreme caution when looking at these charts! My GP and OB have told me that 140 is too low for me to have a healthy pregnancy and too low in general for me. Report
I like this article, I just wish there was more information on eating right while pregnant. It seems like there should be a lifestyle center for that. I don't plan on 'dieting' while pregnant but I know I am supposed to add extra of several foods to my diet. It would help me if my nutrition tracker was set up for my changing dietary needs. Just a thought =) Report
It's good to hear that I'm on the right track. Part of why I have been trying to lose weight has been for this very purpose. My husband and I have been trying to concieve for 2 years, and I have been using SparkPeople to a) keep my mind off the GETTING pregnant, and b) to find myself at a more comfortable weight before becoming pregnant. Nice positive reinforcement! :) Wish me luck! I've lost 12 pounds, and have a pregnancy test (by blood test) on Tuesday...! Report
Very good article that just reinforces what I've been trying to tell all of those folks who are rushing my husband and I into parenthood. When I tell people I need to lose weight first, their response is, "Why? To gain it back?!". They don't get it. I wish I could forward this to all of them. Report
Good Article
I recently reached my "healthy weight" category, and it was a great feeling!

I'm just now starting to consider motherhood, but it's something that I need to maintain my health for in the future. I didn't lose weight for that reason in particular, but I would feel much better if I could feel my fittest during pregnancy!

I agree, this is a great article!! My husband and I want to try to have a baby next year, so I have a great motivator (a baby) to help me lose some weight!! Report
This was a really good article. I also am trying to lose weight to be healthy and because my husband and I want to have a baby. I am still in the obese section and am down to a weight loss of 11 pounds I have a couple more pounds to go to be in the underweight. Report
it scares me to think about gaining weight if I stay at the weight I am now........ I just don't want to weigh more than 200 lbs!!! Must get more diligent. Report
Hey! I am in the"Overweight" group now!!! I am finally not concidered "Obese"! This just makes my day, let me tell you. Here I come "Healthy Weight"! Report


About The Author

Amy Pawlak
Amy Pawlak
Amy is a certified health education specialist with a master's degree from the University of Cincinnati.