Pre-Conception Weight Loss
Your questionI am about 50 pounds overweight, and I am concerned with my health as well as for the baby if I were to conceive at this time. My husband and I would like to try to conceive next February. My goal is to lose at least 25 pounds through proper diet and exercise. Is it safe to lose a lot of weight prior to conceiving? Is it true that heavier people do not gain as much weight during pregnancy as a smaller person might?— Amy, San Jose
The expert answers
As long as the weight is lost through proper diet and exercise as you said, there would be no harm to the future pregnancy or to yourself.
I would advise that you call your caregiver and start taking a good prenatal vitamin now. Once you are pregnant, it is not advisable to diet; instead, you should eat a healthy diet including all the food groups and increasing your caloric intake by about 300 calories a day.
Many heavy people do not tend to gain as much weight as smaller people, but I am not sure whether this is because they actually do not increase their intake because they were already eating more, or that their bodies compensate with the already stored fats. At any rate, there is no scientific proof to this, and it is not something that I would count on if I were you.
Being overweight during a pregnancy predisposes you to certain problems such as high blood pressure and increases your chances of cesarean delivery. Plan to lose your weight prior to becoming pregnant, through a healthy diet and exercise. Eat well while you are pregnant, and I am sure that you and your baby will both be fine.