Preparing for Another Pregnancy (part 2) - How do you measure up?

- Give Up Coffee For Beautiful Breasts
- Welcome to your First Trimester
- Welcome to your Second Trimester
- Welcome to your Third Trimester

How do you measure up?

If your BMI is under 20, you are underweight. To increase your BMI, you should eat larger quantities but still try to have a healthy diet. If you have only a small appetite, then choose more energy-dense foods such as full-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds and avocados. You could also use more vegetable oils in cooking or salad dressing. If you find large meals daunting, then don’t worry – just eat small snacks throughout the day. If you do a lot of exercise, it might also help to reduce your workouts. In order to have a regular menstrual cycle and normal ovulation, women need to have a reasonable amount of body fat (at least 22%). Yours may be below this if you have a heavy exercise schedule. If you find it difficult to increase your body weight, then talk to your GP about getting some help, particularly if you have a history of eating disorders.

If your BMI is between 20 and 25, you are a healthy weight for your height. However, if you are right at the very bottom or very top of the range, you should keep an eye on your weight, and likewise if you gained weight following your last pregnancy (see the box opposite). Otherwise, you don’t need to worry, and you certainly shouldn’t think about losing weight in anticipation of putting it on when you get pregnant: research has shown that women who do this could be putting themselves at increased risk of premature delivery. Instead, you should make sure that you eat a healthy diet in order to get all the nutrients your body needs.

If your BMI is over 25, you are overweight. You need to make some changes to your diet and increase the amount of physical activity that you do. You may be keen to get on with the business of baby-making, but don’t try losing weight too quickly. Strict dieting will deprive your body of the essential nutrients it needs and can actually reduce rather than increase your fertility. Restrictive diets such as the low-carb Atkins diet may seem like a good idea – some people certainly achieve phenomenal weight loss with this kind of eating. However, research suggests that low-carb diets reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. If you currently follow the Atkins diet, you should stop before trying to get pregnant and instead follow a more balanced diet.

It is best to make long-term changes to your eating habits so that you can achieve a slow but steady weight loss of one or two pounds a week. This can be done by cutting down on fatty and sugary foods and increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables, high-fibre foods and water. At the same time, you should take more exercise. Trying to incorporate more walking into your everyday life and using the stairs more often will also help.

Of course, losing weight is easier said than done, but what better incentive is there? By shedding the pounds now, you should feel better, increase your fertility, have an easier pregnancy and birth, and have a healthier baby. If you find weight loss difficult, particularly if you have a lot of weight to lose, then talk to your GP or join a reputable slimming club that doesn’t promise instant success but encourages healthy eating and long-term results.

If you are very overweight, it is worth holding off trying to get pregnant until after you have managed to lose some of the extra pounds. Then you will have a better chance of everything going well. If you are less overweight, there shouldn’t be any problem with you trying for a baby while you lose up to two pounds a week, providing you do it through sensible healthy eating and exercise.

 
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