Obesity in pregnancy can have adverse effects on the pregnant mother as well as the fetus. You are considered obese if you have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or higher.
To determine your BMI, take your weight in pounds and multiply that number by 703. Next, divide that sum by your height in inches, then divide that number by your height in inches for a second time. Round to the nearest tenth decimal point if necessary. Then you will have your BMI.
For example, Jane Doe weighs 180 pounds and is 5’4” tall.
180 multiplied by 703 is 126,540.
126,540 divided by 64 (height in inches) equals 1,977.1875.
1,977.1875 divided by 64 is 30.89 then round to the nearest tenth.
Jane Doe’s BMI is 30.9 and would be considered obese.
If you don’t feel like doing the math yourself, you can use a BMI calculator.
BMI Weight Categories
After determining your BMI, you can see where you fit in the categories to determine if you are underweight, healthy range, overweight, or obese.
Remember to use your last known weight prior to getting pregnant, as pregnancy could skew the results with the extra weight gain.
It’s important to remember that your BMI does not determine your value. It is only an estimated measure of the amount of body fat based on your height and weight. It does not take into consideration your lean muscle mass versus fat mass, which is why you should always discuss any weight concerns with your midwives.
For women with a BMI of 30 or higher, it can be highly beneficial to schedule a preconception appointment when you start trying to conceive. Obesity can make conceiving more difficult because the extra weight can inhibit ovulation. The midwives can also help you gain insight into your diet and exercise.
Women with obesity during pregnancy should see their midwives for regular prenatal checkups. It is recommended to eat a nutritious diet and remain active throughout your pregnancy unless placed on bed rest.
It’s important to note that pregnancy is not a good time to start working out and being more active than you were pre-pregnancy. It is best to stick with the same level of activity you had before. If you were not very physically active before pregnancy, then try low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga.
Throughout the entirety of the pregnancy, the recommended weight gain for a woman with a BMI of 30 or higher is 11-20 pounds for a singleton or 25-42 pounds for multiples. Consult with your midwife to determine your target weight gain.
Your midwife may recommend getting early gestational diabetes testing or screening for obstructive sleep apnea.
Before getting pregnant, schedule a preconception appointment when you want to begin trying to conceive. During pregnancy, make sure to have prenatal check-ups regularly. Focus on eating a healthy diet and staying active.