Have you ever thought being overweight affects your pregnancy? If not, it is good to know that obesity during pregnancy can affect you and your baby as well. When a woman is pregnant, it is important to eat enough to offer all the vital nutrients for her developing baby to grow strong. And every woman is encouraged to gain a little weight during pregnancy, but what if she is already obese?
Women who are obese have a greater risk of pregnancy complications and their babies also have a higher risk of premature birth and certain birth defects. So, women who plan for a pregnancy should maintain a healthy weight to prevent pregnancy complications which is safe for both mother and baby.
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Are You Considered Obese?
To determine whether a person is obese or not, their BMI (Body Mass Index) is taken into the consideration. To calculate BMI, a person’s weight and height are used. If the BMI value is in between 25 to 29.9, then a person is considered to be overweight. And a person is considered as obese if the BMI value is greater than 30. So, everyone should keep track of their BMI values to stay healthy.
How Might Obesity Affect The Mother During Pregnancy?
As told earlier, being obese during pregnancy can increase the risk of many complications. They include:
- Gestational diabetes: Women who are obese have higher chances to have diabetes that develops during pregnancy, popularly known as gestational diabetes than women who have a normal weight.
- Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by high blood pressure and significant amount of protein in urine. Women with a BMI of 35 or above at the beginning of pregnancy have doubled the risk of developing preeclampsia to that of women who have a BMI under 25.
- Infection:Women who are obese during pregnancy are at higher risk of urinary tract infections. Being obese increases the risk of infections that would develop after childbirth, whether the baby is delivered vaginally or by C-section.
- Miscarriage or Stillbirth:Miscarriage is the pregnancy loss that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stillbirth is the fetal death at or after 20 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Women with BMI value greater than 30, has the higher risk of having miscarriage or stillbirth.
- C-Section: Obesity increases the chance of complications from a c-section like an infection or heavy blood loss. It also increases the likelihood of emergency c-sections.
- Labour Problems:Obesity increases the need of labour induction. Women who are obese have higher chances of need to induce labour with the help of drugs or other methods instead of waiting to start labour naturally. Obesity also interferes with the use of anesthesia during c-section such as epidural block. It also increases the risk of pregnancy that continues beyond the expected due date, which needs a longer hospital stay.
How Might Obesity During Pregnancy Affect the Baby?
If mother is obese during pregnancy, the baby is more likely to have the following conditions:
- Premature birth:In women who are obese during pregnancy likely to have an early delivery 3 weeks before the due date of pregnancy or at the 37th week of pregnancy. This is known as premature birth and this can give the baby less time to develop in the womb than normal. A premature birth can cause serious health problems for the baby.
- Birth defects:Birth defects are the health conditions that a baby has at the birth. They change the shape or functionality of one or more parts of the body and can affect overall development of baby. This causes problems in the overall health of the baby. Obesity increases the risk of birth defects in the baby.
- Macrosomia:Macrosomia is the condition which refers to describe a newborn with an excessive birth weight. Women who are obese are at higher risk of delivering an infant who is significantly larger than the average and has more body fat than normal. This could lead to childhood obesity.
- Chronic conditions: Obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of the baby to develop chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes later in the life.