Obesity and pregnancy are two combined conditions that pose extra health risks for the expecting mom and her growing baby, even though most overweight pregnant moms have had safe pregnancies and healthy babies.
Obesity is a vague term unless you measure it appropriately using body mass index. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of ideal weight recommended for a given height. If your weight is from 20% more than your ideal weight, you’re defined as overweight.
It’s generally recommended that every woman trying to conceive should as well try to attain an ideal state of health before conception, especially in the area of body weight.
If you’re over-weight before becoming pregnant (having a BMI between 26.0 and 29.9), chances are high you’ll become overweight during pregnancy, on account of inevitable pregnancy weight gain.
Although the risk of complications in the development of baby is rare in mere obese pregnant women, women who don’t have any other health risk factors, it’s been observed that being over-weight and pregnant may lead to an elevated risk of abnormal fetal development.
In addition to the fact that obesity greatly increases the intensity of some pregnancy symptoms like backache, heartburn, varicose veins, and the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and other pregnancy-induced illnesses, most babies are also born over-weight or large sized.
In the area of monitoring the growing baby, the layers of fat in obese women make it practically difficult for doctors to ascertain the size of the baby well into pregnancy. Besides, if ultrasound is not done early, it may be more difficult to estimate due date in obese pregnant woman.
Though vaginal delivery is possible for expecting obese women, some reports have shown that the co-existence of obesity and pregnancy necessitated 40% deliveries via cesarean section due to large baby size. Even in the event of cesarean section, layers of fat in obesity can complicate the process and prolong recovery as well.
Obesity during pregnancy also increase the risk in babies to undergo developmental or congenital defects like neural tube defect and shoulder dystocia (in case of difficult vaginal birth). Most of these babies are also prone to develop obesity during childhood likewise.
Obesity during pregnancy greatly affect the health and well-being of the obese pregnant mom during and after pregnancy. From the stage of getting pregnant, obese women face problems such as erratic ovulation, making it difficult to pin-point their fertile window.
Obesity during pregnancy exposes the expecting mom to pregnancy-induced illnesses such as gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension or high blood pressure. It also makes the control of these illnesses difficult by ordinary diet modification and exercise.
Pre-term labor, pre-mature rupture of membranes, aggravated weight gain after childbirth and prolonged duration of postpartum recovery can possibly result from complicated condition of obesity during pregnancy.
Moreover, the risk of still-birth and miscarriage is also fairly high if excessive weight isn’t controlled appropriately during pregnancy.
The proactive measures that can alleviate the possible complications from obesity during pregnancy can be categorized into two (2); before and during pregnancy.
Ideally it’s recommended that any obese woman who desires to conceive should lose weight and stay healthy before becoming pregnant in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy. For this purpose, it’s better to lose weight gradually, using healthy methods like exercise and dietary modification.
Don’t hesitate to consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice on the best option for you.
If you’re obese or over-weight during pregnancy, you’re at elevated risk than a normal weight pregnant woman. In such case, the first recommended course of action is for you to control the amount of weight you’ll gain throughout pregnancy, not more than 15 pounds ideally. Ensure you follow the diet plan recommended by your dietitian.
Importantly, don’t resort to “dieting” for losing weight during pregnancy. Even if you’re over-weight, outright dieting or skipping meals is not only unhealthy for you as a pregnant mom, but it also increases the risk of complications in your baby.
As a rule of thumb, use a proper diet schedule to regulate your weight-gain during pregnancy in order to avoid any possible complication form improper dieting.
Weight loss surgeries are widely used for shedding extra pounds of fat in less time. Although, a lot of women have reservations regarding the safety of weight loss surgeries and its implications for getting pregnant but it’s we’re of the opinion that associated complications from obesity and pregnancy are far more devastating than the potential complications of weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgeries not only increase the chance of getting pregnant (especially because morbid obesity could be a likely cause of infertility in the first instance), but such surgeries also improve the overall physical health of mom during and after pregnancy.
Since obesity during pregnancy is potentially risky for both the pregnant mom and her growing baby, women of childbearing age are strongly advised to regulate their body-weight within recommended limits through well-balanced dietary modification, exercise, among other healthy methods.
Consult your doctor if you’re considering any measure for weight reduction or weight gain during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you immensely to minimize any possible risks from obesity and pregnancy, while ensuring you have a safe pregnancy and healthy baby like the successful pregnancy stories of many obese moms.