I want to get pregnant but I am very overweight. Do I need to diet first?

If you're very overweight it's a good idea to lose weight before you start trying for a baby.

Woman's feet standing on scales

Firstly, visit your doctor to discuss this. If you're very overweight it's a good idea to lose weight before you start trying for a baby. Being very overweight puts you and your baby at extra risk of problems during pregnancy. The higher your BMI, the higher the risk.

If your BMI is 30 or above the risks include:

Now is an ideal time to get healthy to ensure you give your baby the best start in life. Once you are pregnant you are not advised to diet as it may mean that you cut out nutrients to the baby. Instead you're recommended to have a healthy diet.

Now however, dieting is not an issue, but don’t go on crash diets that cut out major food groups, or which could leave you short of vital nutrients. Instead aim to make healthier choices for your food, which can continue when you become pregnant. If you crash diet now you are likely to pile the weight back on in early pregnancy.

Speak to your GP about also taking up some simple exercise to help you shift the weight, and learn about how to continue some moderate exercise during pregnancy and beyond.

See our Ready to conceive page for more ideas

Sources

  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Weight management before, during and after pregnancy, public health guidance 27, London NICE, 2010
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