If you are planning a pregnancy, attaining a healthy weight can help increase your chances of falling pregnant. Additionally, a healthy weight during pregnancy reduces the risk of pregnancy complications and even birth defects.

Being Overweight Can:

  • affect fertility and take longer to conceive for females due to problems with hormone levels affecting the menstrual cycle and egg quality
  • for males can reduce the quality of sperm1

Pregnancy risks associated with overweight or obese females included:

  • Miscarriage
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • pre-eclampsia
  • gestational diabetes
  • infection
  • blood clotting
  • medical intervention to induce labour
  • making natural deliveries more difficult and resulting in a caesarean birth
  • premature birth resulting in longer hospital stays for newborns or lasting effects such as behavioural issues or developmental delays
  • stillbirth 1

Compared to babies born to mother in the healthy weight range, babies born to women who are obese are more likely to:

  • be a larger than normal birth weight
  • after birth, need intensive care
  • during delivery, suffer shoulder or arm injuries
  • increased risk of a birth defect – obesity doubles the risk of some conditions like spina bifida2
  • be overweight or develop type 2 diabetes


  1. https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/clinical-practice-guidelines-management-overweight-and-obesity
  2. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/142309/g-obesity.pdf 



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