Becoming healthy before becoming pregnant: Part I

Agnesian Women's Health

Written by: Steven Sheppard, DO

Pre-conception nutrition is a vital part of preparing for pregnancy. Factors such as your weight compared with your height and what you eat can play an important role in your health during pregnancy and the health of your developing fetus.

Pre-pregnancy weight

Your pre-pregnancy weight has a direct influence on your baby's birthweight. Studies show that underweight women are more likely to give birth to small babies, even though they may gain the same amount in pregnancy as normal weight women. Overweight women have increased risks for problem in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

Pre-pregnancy nutrition

Many women do not eat a well-balanced diet before pregnancy and may not have the proper nutritional status for the demands of pregnancy. Generally, a pregnant woman needs to add about 300 extra calories daily after the first trimester to meet the needs of her body and her developing fetus. However, those calories, as well as her entire diet, need to be healthy, balanced, and nutritious. Exercise and everyday physical activity should also be included with a healthy dietary plan.

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