In 2009, 18.7% of women in their reproductive years had an obese body mass index (BMI=30 or greater). An additional 24.5% were overweight. In that same year, rates were similar among women who became pregnant. Do you know your body mass index (BMI)?

A healthy mom has the best chance for a healthy baby. Because about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, women need to be at their optimal weight during their reproductive years. 

Being heavy during pregnancy increases a woman’s risk for poor pregnancy outcomes such as birth defects, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, prolonged labors, and cesarean sections and their children and more likely to be obese in adulthood.  Obese women also report higher rates of postpartum depression and lower rates of breastfeeding. Women who are heavier have more problems with infertility and oral contraceptive failure.

Baby Your Baby encourages all women to practice healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors. 

    • Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats
    • Drink water
    • Limit unhealthy fats, added sugars, and alcohol
    • Participate in at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity each week
    • More recommendations can be found on PANO website:
    • More specific tips on achieving good health for reproductive age women can be found at