Intended for healthcare professionals


Weight and pregnancy

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 26 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:169
  1. Jennifer M Walsh, specialist registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology1,
  2. Deirdre J Murphy, professor of obstetrics2
  1. 1Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland
  2. 2Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Trinity College, University of Dublin and Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland
  1. Deirdre.j.murphy{at}

    Women who maintain a normal healthy weight, before, during, and after pregnancy have better outcomes

    Women of reproductive age are bombarded with messages about diet, weight, and body image. There is growing concern on the one hand about an epidemic of obesity, and on the other about a culture that promotes “size zero” as desirable, irrespective of a woman's natural build. Pregnancy is one of the most nutritionally demanding periods of a woman's life, with an adequate supply of nutrients essential to support fetal wellbeing and growth.1 With at least half of all pregnancies unplanned, women need to be aware of the implications of their weight for pregnancy, birth, and the health of their babies. However, the potential to provide women with conflicting information about weight, weight gain, and weight loss extends to pregnancy and birth outcomes.

    Over one billion adults in the world are now overweight, with more than 300 million clinically obese.2 In …

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