Health Topics

Helping You Achieve the Right Weight for a Healthy Pregnancy

Optimizing your health before and during pregnancy translates into healthier outcomes for you and your baby.

To welcome the healthiest possible baby into the world, you’ll want to do everything you can to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery. Optimizing your weight before pregnancy and continuing on a healthy path after delivery will create a brighter future for you — and your child. Pregnancy puts a significant strain on your body — for nine months! Like training for a long-distance race, it’s important to get in shape for your pregnancy. You can do this by making changes in your lifestyle now to shed unhealthy amounts of weight. Do that before the race begins, and you — and your baby — will be much more likely to reach the finish line safely.

Why getting into shape matters

Optimizing your health before and during pregnancy can make a world of difference. Studies show that achieving a healthy weight translates into healthier outcomes for you and your baby.

Risks of extra weight

The health risks for women with a body mass index (BMI) above 30 during pregnancy and delivery are serious:

  • High blood pressure (preeclampsia)
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Large babies that are difficult to deliver
  • Complicated cesarean sections

The risks for their babies are even more serious:

  • Stillbirth
  • Prematurity
  • Birth defects
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes in childhood

How you can optimize your weight and health before and during pregnancy

Too often, women who are significantly overweight feel there’s nothing they can do about it — that they’ve tried everything.

Your goal should be to:

  • Reach a healthy weight before pregnancy
  • Gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy
  • Shed the weight you gained during pregnancy after delivery

Before or during Pregnancy

If you are trying to become pregnant, shedding excessive weight will improve your chances. Infertility can be more prevalent among women who are overweight.

A physician expert can help improve your health to increase fertility and reduce the risks of miscarriage. And a registered dietitian can calculate your BMI and show you how to eat right to achieve your weight goals.

If you are pregnant, you may not know how much weight you should gain. A physician expert can explain how weight affects pregnancy outcomes.

After Pregnancy

If you are a new mom who gained excessive weight during pregnancy, a physician expert can monitor you in a medically supervised weight management program to help you lose your excess weight.

A registered dietitian can offer you tips on making easy, healthy family meals. They can also help you learn what portion control means for you and your children and understand how to read food labels to quickly determine the healthiest food choices for your family.

Healthy Expectations Program

Cleveland Clinic’s Healthy Expectations Program will give you the information you need to optimize your weight and health before and during pregnancy, and after delivery. We do this in 60-minute shared medical appointments with a physician who specializes in weight management and a registered dietitian.

In these appointments, you will be with other women who face similar weight challenges. You will hear answers to questions you may not have asked. Together, you will learn more than you would on your own. Cleveland Clinic’s Healthy Expectations Program is offered at multiple locations across northern Ohio. Visit to find the location nearest you. To schedule a shared medical appointment before, during or after pregnancy, call 216.444.6601 and ask for the Healthy Expectations Program.