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Body Weight - The Importance of Getting it Right ‘Before’ Becoming Pregnant

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Although the use of folic acid supplements before and in the early stages of pregnancy is becoming increasingly well known, messages about the importance of obtaining a healthy body weight ‘before’ becoming pregnant do not appear to be as widely known and significantly add to financial stains placed upon health services. For women, being overweight or obese can reduce fertility, and increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and delivery complications in pregnancy. Equally, being underweight before becoming pregnancy can has its own health implications, including increased risk of small-for-gestational age (SGA) deliveries. Consequently, body weights outside recommended reference ranges before pregnancy may contribute to a cycle of poor intergenerational health. Health interventions are needed to help women obtain a healthy bodyweight and educate them about the importance of eating a healthy diet ‘before’ becoming pregnant.

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Keywords: Obesity; fertility; future health (mother and child); gestational diabetes; pre-pregnancy; pregnancy complications; underweight

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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