No woman in history has ever looked forward to a discussion about her weight.  Whether you’re considered overweight, underweight, or average, it’s hard to not feel criticized when talking about how your weight may be impacting your health.  So, when we approach the topic of BMI for surrogates, it’s important to understand that it’s not about judgment – it’s about protecting your health and wellbeing.

What is BMI?

According to the CDC, Body Mass Index (BMI) “is a measure of weight adjusted for height” that provides an objective screening tool for obesity and its related health risks.  In the broader medical community, BMI helps doctors identify those who may be at an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and other obesity-related health concerns.  In the fertility and surrogacy community, doctors use BMI as a tool for identifying increased pregnancy risks and, ultimately, for optimizing maternal and child health outcomes.

Why Is Pre-Pregnancy BMI Important?

An increasing number of studies show that pre-pregnancy BMI can have a major impact on a woman’s ability to get (and stay) pregnant, the woman’s health during the pregnancy, and the health of the child long into his/her life.  And yet, few articles are written about the importance of a woman’s weight prior to conception – perhaps because those who conceive in the traditional way aren’t thinking about it or simply because “weight” is an uncomfortable topic for many women.

With surrogacy, we have the opportunity to approach the pregnancy compassionately and strategically – to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect the health and wellbeing of both the surrogate and future baby.

Why Are We Concerned About BMI for Surrogates?

Every woman should be celebrated for exactly who they are – plain and simple.  However, pre-pregnancy BMI needs to be a concern for surrogates because it plays such an important role in your health and your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

Here’s some data on why it’s important to consider pre-pregnancy BMI for surrogates:

  • Extra weight can affect fertility by preventing ovulation and preventing fertility treatments from working. (DHHS – Office on Women’s Health)
  • Being underweight can impact fertility by reducing the production of estrogen and/or stopping the release of eggs, and it can impact the body’s ability to support a developing fetus in the womb. (DHHS – Office on Women’s Health)
  • Pre-pregnancy obesity increases the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy (including preeclampsia), C-section births, and more. (Mayo Clinic)
  • Children born to obese women (compared to those of an average weight) are nearly 5 times more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis; 3 times more likely to have an autism or developmental-delay diagnosis; and almost 2 times more likely to experience emotional symptoms and/or receive language therapy or special needs services. (Centers for Disease Control)

How Can You Achieve a Healthy BMI?

Most doctors will only work with surrogates who have a BMI of 30 or lower and 18.5 or higher.  But you can achieve a healthy BMI by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising a reasonable amount, and maintaining a healthy mindset about your body.

At Surrogate Parenting Services, we help our family of surrogates prepare for pregnancy by connecting them with doctors, nutritionists, and psychologists – and by providing tips for healthy living.

Learn More About Surrogate Parenting Services

Founded in 1990, Surrogate Parenting Services (SPS) is a full-service surrogacy program that offers both parties an exceptionally supportive environment throughout the surrogacy relationship.  We’re passionate about creating ideal matches between surrogates and intended parents, so the journey is fulfilling for both sides and the future child is brought into this world in the best possible circumstances.

Learn more about our Surrogacy Program online or by calling (949) 363-9525.