Are you wondering why we calculate your body mass index at your first prenatal appointment? Do you know what it means to you and your pregnancy? Here is a short summary of why we are concerned about your BMI in pregnancy: Your body mass index is your measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. You can easily find a BMI calculator online or we will calculate it for you when you come in for your visit. Obesity is defined as a (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2. It is further classified by class: class I (BMI 30.0 to 34.9 kg/m2), class II (BMI 35.0 to 39.9 kg/m2), and class III (BMI ≥40 kg/m2). Ideally it is best to go into pregnancy with a normal range body mass index, but sometimes or a lot of times, that does not always happen. Obesity can put you at risk for certain conditions in pregnancy including high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and diabetes to name a few. During labor there is a higher risk of cesarean delivery and an increased risk of wound infection after delivery. Therefore, we do take your BMI seriously as we are concerned about your health and the health of your baby.
So, with all of this being said, you may be asking what you can do in pregnancy to stay as healthy as possible. The first thing to do is to maintain a healthy weight gain. According to the Institute of Medicine, a patient with a normal BMI (18.5-24.99 kg/m2) should gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. If your BMI falls in the 25-29.99 kg/m2 range, it is recommended that you gain 15-25 pounds. Lastly, if your BMI is greater than 30 kg/m2, your recommended weight gain would be between 11-20 pounds. We would adjust these amounts if you were expecting twins, triplets or greater!
Exercise and diet are key to your success. Exercise has multiple health benefits in pregnancy and outside of pregnancy. Pregnant women can initiate an exercise program or continue most prepregnancy exercise programs. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding your exercise program. Your diet is also extremely important during pregnancy. It is discussed in other sections of this blog and I encourage you to read through it. Lastly, we will monitor you and your baby closely in conjunction with your doctor or midwife. Ultrasounds will help us estimate your baby’s growth and wellbeing while inside the womb. I encourage you to keep your scheduled ultrasound and prenatal appointments to ensure the best outcome possible.
-Loretta Garret, DNP, CNM, FNP