I am overweight. Do I need to diet before I get pregnant?

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 your weight management. Being very overweight puts you and your baby at extra risk of problems during pregnancy. The higher your body mass index (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. During pregnancy you are not advised to actively lose weight as it can 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 food choices, which can continue when you become pregnant. If you crash diet now you are likely to put 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 more ideas to help you get ready to conceive


  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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Last reviewed on June 13th, 2017. Next review date June 13th, 2020.

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