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Healthy weight

In this section you will learn about healthy weight.

Encouraging women to optimise their weight (18.5 – 30 kg/m2) prior to conception will improve their fertility and also reduce complications of the pregnancy and birth.  This may take time and should be encouraged by all in a sensitive way when women attend for appointments or other support. 

A high BMI (> 30) increases the risk of : 

  • Infertility 
  • Pregnancy and birth complications including: 
    • Gestational diabetes 
    • Miscarriage 
    • Pre-eclampsia 
    • Thromboembolism 
    • Maternal death 
    • Shoulder dystocia 
    • Having a caesarian section 
  • Babies born to obese women increase risk of: 
    • Foetal death 
    • Stillbirth 
    • Congenital abnormality including neural tube defects, cardiovascular anomalies, cleft palate 
    • Macrosomia 
    • Subsequent obesity 

A low BMI (< 18.5) increases risks including:

  • First trimester miscarriage
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight 
  • Developmental problems 

  • What opportunities do you have in your work to support women with advice about weight management? 
  • What are the issues you have encountered and what changes did you make?