Pregnancy and Obesity – Know What the Potential Dangers Are

All pregnant women will gain weight as their pregnancy progresses. Gaining weight is normal and it is actually a sign of a healthy pregnancy. Too much gain weight however is not recommended because it can cause some complications. Hence, obese women who become pregnant are at risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects. Pregnancy and obesity together is not good because of its possible negative effects both to the mother and to the baby. However, doctors cannot stop obese women from becoming pregnant. Instead many obstetricians recommend obese mothers to read information about pregnancy and obesity.

Effects to the Mother

Pregnant women who are obese are at risk to develop several diseases and other health complications. One of the complications of obesity is the development of a condition known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is characterized by fluid retention, swelling and high blood pressure during pregnancy. This condition can limit placental flow which can endanger the baby. Obese women are also prone to infections after giving birth. Gestational diabetes is another condition which can be developed due to obesity during pregnancy. Most obese woman cannot give birth naturally due to possible complications so many will give birth via Caesarean Section.

Effects to the Baby

Since the mom and the baby are connected, any health condition the mother may develop will probably affect the fetus or the baby. Some of the complication to the baby brought about by pregnancy are neural tube defects, macrosoma and childhood obesity. Neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida are common among babies whose mothers were obese during pregnancy. Macrosoma is a condition wherein the baby gains too much weight during development. This can create some problems during delivery. Based on studies, 29 % of babies born to obese mother are more likely to be obese by the time they are four years old.

Preconception Counseling

Obese women who are pregnant are not advised to lose weight because it can also pose some health risks both the mother and the baby. Instead preconception counseling is suggested for obese women to help them understand the link between pregnancy and obesity. During preconception counseling, the doctor will explain to the pregnant women the possible risks of maternal obesity. This is not to scare them but to help them prepare. Pregnant women will also learn what they should do to minimize the risks brought about by maternal obesity.

What can be done?

There are some resourceful materials women should get and read about pregnancy and obesity. You can ask your doctor about them. These materials will include the steps women can take to avoid complications during pregnancy. Obese women who are not yet pregnant and are planning to have a baby should lose weight before pregnancy. Women should also watch their weight gain during pregnancy. Obese women should gain less weight as compared to women with normal weight. A healthy and proper diet is necessary to make certain that pregnant women get the proper nutrition. In addition, there are pregnancy exercises which can limit weight gain and at the same time promote healthy pregnancy.

James has been writing articles about health issues for over 5 years.

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