This study is a good reminder to women in the childbearing years and who are going to start a family - address your own health, including body weight, before pregnancy so that the baby has a good start to life. That means a healthy diet with regular exercise.

A healthy weight for a healthy pregnancy outcome

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Last week we talked about working on weight loss for overall good health, so in keeping with that theme, let’s discuss the importance of reaching a healthy weight before pregnancy. This is important for the health of the mom, but also to deliver a healthy and healthy-weight baby.

Researchers evaluated information from the pregnancies of 1000's of women in Washington State and although the risk was small, there were some health concerns when women were obese during pregnancy. In this study, three percent of the women before getting pregnant were underweight, and 24 percent were obese before pregnancy.

These were the health issues that could arise in those women who were either underweight or obese during pregnancy:

  • Eclampsia
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Sudden kidney failure
  • Respiratory problems

This study is a good reminder to women in the childbearing years and who are going to start a family - address your own health, including body weight, before pregnancy so that the baby has a good start to life. That means a healthy diet with regular exercise.

The researchers are finding that obesity rates today are higher in pregnant women. In other words, there are more women who are at class 2 and 3 for obesity (BMIs of 35 and higher) when they become pregnant, and that ups their health risks.  So addressing your weight through lifestyle changes will benefit the entire family.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.