Preconception Advice: Get in Shape BEFORE Pregnancy
As a society, we have lost sight of what a normal weight is and many women enter pregnancy out of shape.
First of all, be realistic about your weight. You should weigh approximately 105 pounds if you are 5 foot 1 inch. Ok, ok, if you are big boned or have more than average muscle mass, give yourself 10 extra pounds to 115, but be honest, at 130 pounds you are not an optimal weight for your height. Watch some old movies and see how thin American women used to be. Those women mostly had vaginal births.
Overweight people generally eat too many calories and make poor food choices. Many of our clients have a hard time accepting how few calories we actually need and how nutrient-dense foods like broccoli, steak or quinoa are not needed in huge quantities or that eating a lot of healthy food can still be too many calories equating to extra body weight. They eat everything ORGANIC, but organic cookies are NOT better than regular broccoli.
Being In Shape Equates to Better Birth Outcomes
Are you able to run a mile? Are you able to you run up two flights of stairs without being out of breath? When was the last time you had a real aerobic workout?
These questions are not intended to make you feel badly about yourself. But if you are trying to conceive being physically fit is as important as taking your prenatal vitamin! Being out of shape and overweight translates into unwanted pregnancy outcomes. If you are considering pregnancy in the next year, here are my reasons for you to exercise and lose some weight BEFORE you get pregnant.
- Fertility is affected by excess body weight
- In labor an out of shape woman’s heart rate raises to such high levels like 130-150 that it becomes difficult to differentiate between the mom’s and the baby’s heart rate. This could result in more interventions in labor.
- Being out of shape can be a problem with maternal exhaustion when a woman has no endurance.
- Excessive body weight in pregnancy combined with weight gain of pregnancy can strain the pancreas and cause a diabetic state. Diabetes in pregnancy can result in extra-large babies that are hard to give birth to, especially without medication.
- Excessive body weight entering pregnancy can be a predictor of pre-eclampsia which is a serious pregnancy complication.
- According to the March of Dimes, overweight women have a higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and birth trauma to mother and baby.
- Overweight women have higher morbidity (illness) when they need a cesarean section
- Overweight women have greater risk when they attempt a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
- Babies born to overweight moms (and dads) are more likely to be overweight in their lifetime due to epigenetic imprints made during sperm production and pregnancy.
- Increased risk of birth defects, especially heart and neural tube defects.
- Breast milk production is slowed by the estrogen produced by our body fat. In fact in many cases. thin women make milk like CRAZY.
The Midwives of New Jersey are committed to improving pregnancy and birth outcomes in New Jersey. We have hired a Wellness Advisor, Sharon Kulawiak, to work with our clients to help them achieve their wellness goals before, during and after pregnancy. Call to schedule your pre-conception visit with Sharon and with the Midwives and we will work with you to plan a healthy, safe and satisfying pregnancy and birth!