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Healthy weight when trying to get pregnant

It is important to try and maintain a healthy weight if you are planning to start a family.

This is because being underweight or overweight can:

  • affect your chance of getting pregnant
  • increase your risk of pregnancy complications

Your GP and other healthcare professionals can support you to have the best chance of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.

If you are overweight, aiming for 5% to 10% weight loss over 3 to 6 months can improve your chances of becoming pregnant.

Check your BMI

BMI stands for body mass index. This is a way of measuring your weight in relation to your height.

A healthy BMI is above 18.5 and less than 25. A BMI greater than 25 is classified as overweight.

People with a BMI of 30 or more have a high risk of obesity.

Check your BMI - on

If you're underweight

If your BMI is less than 19, it can be harder for you to get pregnant. You should work with your GP and other healthcare professionals to understand the cause of your low BMI and find ways to improve it. This can help you get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.

If you're overweight

If your BMI is 30 or more, it can take longer to get pregnant and there is a higher risk of health problems for you and your baby. The best way to protect your health and your baby's health is to lose weight before you get pregnant.

Weigh yourself once a week and set a target of 1 to 2lbs (1 kg) weight loss a week.

Being physically active for 60 to 90 minutes every day will help you to lose weight.

Talk to your GP if you have any worries about becoming pregnant.

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 14 November 2022
Next review due: 14 November 2025