Body Mass Index
- Your body mass index is the amount of body fat you are carrying around. It is determined by your height and weight and is one of the quickest ways to get a rough idea of whether or not your current weight is in the recommended range. The results are comparable to more complicated test, such as underwater weighing, but without the expense.
- Your BMI is calculated through a very simple math formula: (weight in lbs) divided by (height in inches squared), all multiplied by 703. For example, a woman who was 5'6" (66" total) and weighed 175 lbs would complete the calculation like this: [(175)/(66 x 66)] x 703 = 28.24 BMI. There are also several websites that can determine this for you instantly. A healthy BMI for an adult female is 18.5-24.9.
How Much to Lose
- To determine how much you need to lose, you need to start backwards from an ideal BMI number. It is easier to determine your ideal weight by using an online BMI calculator (like one provided in Resources). Fill out the form with your height, but use a lower weight. Start by taking off 10 percent of your body weight. When you reach a weight that will put you into the healthy weight range, you will have a goal to work towards. To find out how much weight you should use before getting pregnant, subtract your new weight goal from your current weight.
- The benefits of losing weight and reaching a healthy BMI score are considerable. Women who are within a healthy weight range often have an easier time getting pregnant. You will have a decreased risk of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy, and you will be more comfortable overall without carrying the extra weight around. Getting regular exercise, part of maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy, can also make labor and delivery easier and help your body to heal faster after delivery.
- If you become pregnant before reaching your ideal healthy BMI, it is important that you stop trying to lose weight. Dieting during pregnancy is dangerous, as it reduces the amount of nutrition your body receives, even if you are taking vitamins. Women who are overweight are often advised to gain fewer pounds during pregnancy to improve their chances of delivering a healthy baby. Your doctor will help you set realistic weight goals for during your pregnancy at your first appointment.