Pregnant pregnancies are for every body

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Ask your primary care provider or other trusted healthcare professional for advice. Resources like Plus size birth External Link they also offer information and support for moms and future plus size moms, including tips for finding a trusted supplier External Link.

Regardless of the size or shape of your body, you can work with your doctor to plan a healthy pregnancy.

Plus size women are at greater risk of some health problems during pregnancy. But most of the larger pregnant women have healthy pregnancies, especially if they manage their weight gain, receive regular prenatal care and have a delivery plan for their work and delivery.

Healthy pregnancy for large size women does not happen by itself: women and operators must work together to ensure the best results. The first step is to understand your current health, body mass index (BMI), health history and lifestyle (such as eating and physical activity habits) and how these factors can affect your pregnancy. So you and your provider can work together to create a healthy pregnancy plan that meets your specific health needs. The plan may include meal planning, nutritional goals, changes in physical activity and ideas for reducing stress.

A smiling pregnant woman in a maternity shirt holding her abdomen.Your healthy pregnancy plan can also help set the stage for your long-term health. Maintaining healthy postpartum behaviors can provide lifelong health benefits.

Pregnancy for every body aims to help pregnant women and their suppliers work towards these final goals: healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries and healthy children.

Body mass index (BMI) icon.

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI is a relationship between height and weight (weight in kilograms divided by height in square meters) that healthcare professionals use to classify someone’s weight status. Research shows that different weight states are associated with different health risks and benefits, including some related to pregnancy. Information on BMI categories and BMI calculation.

How do providers use IMC?

Healthcare providers use the IMC as a single piece in the overall puzzle of providing care. Your body mass index is one of the factors of your healthy pregnancy plan, but it is not the only factor nor the main factor. Your current health, health history, lifestyle and habits and other information help your provider understand your pregnancy and your specific health risks. Your provider takes this information into account when working with you to create a healthy pregnancy plan that meets your specific needs.

Contour icon of the bust of a pregnant woman in profile.

How does weight affect pregnancy?

Research shows that a BMI of 30 or higher before pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of pregnancy complications.

Women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of 30 or higher1 are at higher risk for the following:

  • Gestational diabetes*: When a woman who did not have diabetes before pregnancy has high blood sugar problems during pregnancy
  • C-section*: Surgical delivery of the child
  • preeclampsia*: Sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy
  • Premature birth*: Birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy
  • Miscarriage*: Unexpected pregnancy loss before the 20th week of pregnancy
  • stillborn*: Death of a fetus in the 20th week of pregnancy or later
    * Links go to nichd.nih.gov.

Getting early and regular prenatal care allows the provider to check the signs of these conditions and possibly cure some of them before the symptoms become severe. The supplier can also adjust the timing or order different tests, such as previous gestational diabetes tests, based on health risks.

In most cases, healthcare professionals recommend not losing weight or trying to lose weight after pregnancy.1 This could affect the growth and development of the fetus. They can, however, recommend that you change your eating and physical activity habits, so that you don’t gain weight than recommended.

Bathroom scale icon.

Can my weight during pregnancy affect my baby’s health?

Yes. Children whose mothers had a BMI of 30 or higher during pregnancy:

  • They are at greater risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity and asthma in childhood.1
  • Growth problems may occur in the uterus.
  • I’m at greater risk for sure birth defects, such as heart problems and neural tube defects.
  • They are at greater risk of developmental problems, such as attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder.
Contour icon of the bust of a pregnant woman in profile.

What can I do if I am large and pregnant?

First: Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Second: Remember that most plus size women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

The next: Be more informed!
Find a supplier who treats you with respect and whom you can trust. Talk to your doctor about your current health, health history, lifestyle and other factors that can affect your pregnancy. Work with your provider for create a healthy pregnancy plan. Find more resources on ours Resource page.

Icon of two generic figures with a heart in the middle.

What can I do if I am multiple in size and planning to become pregnant?

Healthcare professionals recommend large women who are considering pregnancy to lose weight before starting to become pregnant.1 Losing weight before pregnancy is one of the best ways to reduce the pregnancy risks associated with weight. Losing a few pounds can also improve health outcomes.

Once pregnant, you and your supplier will monitor your weight at each visit to check for fetal growth. If you are gaining less weight than current guidelines suggest, but the fetus is growing well, it may not be necessary to gain weight. If the fetus is not growing well, you and your supplier may need to change your diet and exercise habits.

BMI categories

A body mass index (BMI) scale.  BMI of 18.5 or less is underweight.  BMI 18.5 to 24.9 is a normal weight.  BMI 25 to 29.9 is overweight.  BMI of 30 or higher is obesity.

Calculate your body mass index

An image of the NHLBI Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator.  Users can enter height and weight to calculate their body mass index in English or in metric units.  BMI categories: underweight = less than 18.5;  normal weight = 18.5-24.9.  Overweight = 25 to 29.9.  Includes links to BMI tables, tips for betting on healthy weight, BMI limits, risk assessment, weight control, recipients, BMI calculator app download for iPhone and Android devices, and a Spanish version of the calculator.
Use the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute BMI calculator to get your BMI.


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