Posts Tagged ‘Body Mass Index’

Lose the weight before pregnancy

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Advertisements abound these days for weight loss programs and quick fix diets. Did you eat all your favorite traditional treats over the holidays and have a cup or two of cheer? I certainly did and am now feeling like it’s time to behave – time to swap the cookies for carrots, the fruitcake for fruit.

For those of you thinking about pregnancy, it’s especially important to get your weight under control before you conceive. To know if you’re overweight or obese, find out your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant.  BMI is a calculation based on your weight and height.

If you’re overweight, your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9 before pregnancy. Two in 3 women (66 percent) of reproductive age (15 to 44 years) in the United States is overweight.  If you’re obese, your BMI is 30.0 or higher before pregnancy. About 1 in 4 women (25 percent) is obese.

If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more likely than pregnant women at a healthy weight to have certain medical problems during pregnancy. The more overweight you are, the higher are the risks for problems. These problems include:
• Infertility (not being able to get pregnant)
• miscarriage (when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• stillbirth (when a baby dies in the womb before birth but after 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• high blood pressure and preeclampsia (a form of high blood pressure that only pregnant women get). It can cause serious problems for mom and baby.
• gestational diabetes
• complications during labor and birth, including having a really big baby (called large-for-gestational-age) or needing a cesarean section (c-section).

Some of these problems, like preeclampsia, can increase your chances of preterm birth, birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. This is too soon and can cause serious health problems for your baby. (We’ll talk about how mom’s weight issues can affect her baby’s health in tomorrow’s post.)

For those women who are severely overweight, some are turning to surgery. New studies suggest that weight-loss surgery may help protect obese women and their babies from gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, overly large babies and cesarean delivery during pregnancy.

So think about staying healthy and shedding those unwanted pounds before you get pregnant. Talk with your health care provider, find a plan that’s good for you and stick to it. You’ll have a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy when the time comes.

New health apps from federal government

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

us-capitolThe U.S. government has launched 18 new applications for mobile phones. Several of them can help you and your family stay healthy. 

One app reports on product recalls. Another is a body-mass index (BMI) calculator for monitoring weight. One takes you straight to MedlinePlus, the federal health Web site that’s loaded with lots of useful info. And an ultraviolet (UV) index helps you check the air quality in you area.

So take a look and start downloading!

New guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

pregnant-woman-on-weight-scale-shrunkIf you’re an expecting mommy or a woman trying to get pregnant, listen up. The Institutes of Medicine (IOM) released a report today with new recommendations for how much weight a woman should gain during pregnancy, including how much weight they should gain week by week.

The authors of the report stressed how important it was for women to get to a healthy weight BEFORE getting pregnant. That’s because women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy face greater health risks to herself and her baby during pregnancy. For women who are overweight or obese and already pregnant, the authors recommend that women, working with their health providers, carefully monitor their weight gain so that both mom and baby have a greater chance of staying healthy.

The pregnancy weight gain recommendations are as follows:

BMI* Before Pregnancy

Total Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Weight Gain Week by Week** in 2nd and 3rd Trimester

Underweight (BMI less than 18.5)

28-40 pounds

1 pound

Normal weight (BMI is 18.5-24.9)

25-35 pounds

1 pound

Overweight (BMI is 25.0-29.9)

15-25 pounds

½ pound

Obese (BMI is greater than 30.0)

11-20 pounds

½ pound

Use this calculator to find out your BMI
**  These figures assume a 1st trimester weight gain between 1-4½ pounds

Remember, all women need to make sure they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and get their folic acid, both BEFORE and DURING pregnancy. With your health provider’s OK, most pregnant women should try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.

Check out ChooseMyPlate, an online tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It can help you plan a healthy diet based on your age, weight, height and physical activity. There’s even a special section for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.

Baby weight linked to childhood obesity

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

annual-report-photoOk, I admit it – I LOVE chunky little babies! They’re so cute with their plump cheeks and chubby little arms and legs. But a new study in this month’s journal Pediatrics might put a damper on my fascination with chubby babies.

The study suggests that if a baby’s length isn’t growing as fast as her weight during her first six months of life, she may be more likely to face weight issues as a toddler. The research is particularly interesting because it takes the baby’s height (length) into consideration and compares it to the baby’s weight gain. This is similar to how adults would find out if they are overweight by calculating their body mass index or BMI.

As you might know, weight alone isn’t enough to determine if someone is overweight. BMI helps to determine if your weight is appropriate for your height. For example, a woman who is 5’7” and weighs 140 is normal weight. However, a woman weighing the same but at a height of 5’0” is actually overweight.

So are moms supposed to stop feeding their babies? NO! More research still needs to be done before we know anything for sure. In the meantime, talk with your baby’s pediatrician to make sure her growth (both height and weight) are in line with the pediatrician’s expectations.

Pregnancy and weight-loss surgery: New research

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Obese women who have weight-loss surgery are more likely to have healthy pregnancies than obese women who don’t have the surgery, according to a new study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Weight-loss surgery is increasing in the United States, but we are still learning about its risks and benefits.

Important: This new study focused on obese women, not overweight women. What’s the difference?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number that can tell you whether you are underweight, at a normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI is based on height and weight.

Here’s an example: A person who is 5’9″ tall and weighs 203 pounds or more is obese. A person who is 5’9″ tall and weighs between 169 and 202 pounds is overweight.

This new study reminds us that mom’s weight matters during pregnancy. The closer you are to a healthy weight, the more likely you are to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Weight-loss surgery isn’t for everyone, but a healthy weight is.

For more information, read the March of Dimes articles Weight Gain During Pregnancy, Pregnancy and the Overweight Woman and Pregnancy After Weight-Loss Surgery.

Or take a look at our new video on healthy eating during pregnancy. Get to know Olga, and tell us what you think.