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Losing weight pre-pregnancy
Q: I'm quite overweight and I'd like to get pregnant. My husband thinks it would be better for me to lose weight before we have a baby. Do you agree with him? What's the fastest way to lose weight in order to have a healthy pregnancy?
A: If you're overweight when you start your pregnancy, you may be more prone to develop gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Additionally, you may have less energy during the pregnancy and be more likely to need a Caesarean section for delivery.

While it would be better to begin pregnancy at your ideal weight, crash dieting is not the answer. If you choose a restrictive diet that forces you to eliminate certain kinds of food, you'll run the risk of depleting your body of important nutrients. And the nutrition your baby receives in early pregnancy is essential for healthy development.

I recommend that you aim to lose weight through a combination of exercise and healthy eating. A healthy diet means sensible portion sizes, eating lean sources of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. By incorporating a wide range of foods in your diet, you're most apt to provide your body with essential nutrients. Drink plenty of water and increase your intake when exercising. Decrease unnecessary calories by eliminating sodas, high fat foods and sugary treats. Instead, prepare healthy snack items such as fresh vegetable slices, fruit or fruit smoothies. You can work with a dietician if you'd like advice about dieting targeted to your specific situation.

Choose an exercise regime that includes activities you can do regularly that won't overstrain your body. This could include walking, hiking, swimming or aerobics. Weight training is another effective way to tone your body and lose weight. If you're new to weight training, I recommend hiring a personal trainer or taking a weight training class to get started.

Beginning a sensible eating and exercise plan will allow you to establish habits that will boost your health before, during and after your pregnancy!
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist