If you’re looking for advice on how to prepare your body for pregnancy, the one thing you won’t have to worry about is coming up short. Everyone from your gynecologist to your mother to your next-door neighbor will have tips for you. In fact, you’ll receive so much advice, you might find yourself paralyzed with indecision.
To make things more complicated, your life is already pretty busy. You don’t necessarily have time to join a pre-pregnancy boot camp or to start making absolutely everything you eat from scratch. If you have any existing health conditions, achieving a perfect getting-pregnant lifestyle may feel even farther out of reach.
The good news is that getting healthier doesn’t mean achieving perfection on any chart or graph. For example, many experts advise women who are planning on becoming pregnant to aim for a “healthy weight,” as defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. Depending on where you’re starting, that might be easier said than done.
It also might be unnecessary.
“Being in good shape doesn't mean having a BMI less than 25,” says Lynne Eldridge MD, a retired obstetrician. “A lot of research now shows that models with a BMI of 18 are much less cardiovascularly fit than those who are even over 30.” In fact, a 2016 study published in The International Journal of Obesity found that nearly half of overweight subjects and 29% of obese subjects were metabolically healthy, according to measurements including blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol. Over 30% of “normal weight” individuals were “cardiometabolically unhealthy.”
Instead of focusing on the scale, Eldridge says that she encouraged her patients to incorporate daily activity into their routines and to focus on eating healthily.
Looking for ways to do that, no matter what your BMI or current level of fitness? These common-sense changes can help.