Obese or overweight women are at higher risk of complications to mother and child in the womb. The risk increases by many folds if the BMI is even close to severe obesity. Complications such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, gestational diabetes etc can affect obese mother. Women who are obese have higher risk of pregnancy complications and have more chances of having offspring with childhood obesity.
Obesity during pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage, congenital heart disease, neural tube defect, depression, anesthesia complications, breast feeding problems and other adverse effects. These might be a result of maternal hormonal imbalance due to obesity.
What excess body fat does to fetal growth
According to the studies obesity during pregnancy affects the growth of fetus. The fetal growth is determined by mother’s diet and lifestyle. The nutrient intake by mother, her blood circulation etc is transferred to the uterus for healthy growth of the fetus. The excess fat can cause metabolic syndrome and can also affect the development of placenta (provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and eliminates waste from the fetus).
What can be done to reduce obesity in pregnancy
Losing weight before conception is the best way to prevent maternal and fetal health risks. As after conceiving it is not easy to restrict diet for weight loss. A woman who is planning to have a baby must know the complications obesity can have. A balanced diet plan will help to maintain ideal body weight.
Risk for mother
- Hypertension and preeclampsia
- Long labour
- Baby born are premature
- Blood clots
- Caesarean section
Risk for baby
- Baby might have high birth weight
- Chances of being obese later in life
- Can develop diabetes in later life
What to do if a woman is obese and pregnant
It is not at all recommended to go for weight loss while pregnancy as it is not safe. For a healthy pregnancy do not miss your ante natal care visit to your doctor, eat foods rich in vitamin and nutrients, keep moving as it will improve blood circulation which is beneficial for the baby, do not miss the supplements advised by health care professionals and follow the diet as advised by the dietician.
-Consume fresh organic fruits and vegetables, wholegrain, cereals that are rich in vitamin, minerals and fibre.
-Low fat dairy products are good source of calcium and protein.
-Eating small meal at fixed intervals enhances the metabolism that helps prevent metabolic syndromes during pregnancy. It will result in healthy weight gain and also prevent you from eating unhealthy foods.
-Drink water instead of sugar added drinks or flavoured milk. Keep yourself hydrated by keeping a bottle of water handy.
-Avoid the craving for sweets, ice creams or chocolates. Keeping all these unhealthy foods away will benefit your pregnancy health.
-Plan your meal in advance as it will help you make a healthy choice.
-Keep yourself active by taking a walk of 30 minutes in morning and evening. A light exercise will help you relax the muscles and improve blood circulation.
Complications in pregnancy due to obesity
There are many women who are overweight and have healthy pregnancy and healthy babies. Some of the risks linked with gaining too much weight are –
-Complications in labour- women who are obese are more likely to have longer duration of labour and in most of the cases there is induction of labour required. Obesity can result in birth complications such as stuck shoulder during labour.
-High blood pressure is common with obesity and pregnancy along increases the risk of pre-eclampsia. A woman with BMI more than or equal to 30 is at higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia. High blood pressure can cause still birth.
-Gestational diabetes is increase in blood sugar level during pregnancy with obesity. It impacts the health of your child.
-Medical complications might occur in obese or overweight pregnant woman. There is higher chances of excessive bleeding after giving birth, sleep disturbance may occur and woman may go through depression.
-Thrombosis or blood clot occurs in the legs or lungs. The risk increases with pregnancy and obesity.
-Mental health issues are prone to occur in overweight women.
-A higher BMI in pregnant women needs more frequent ultrasound than a pregnant woman with ideal weight. This helps the doctor to monitor the development of a child.
It is one of the important things to take care of before and after pregnancy. One can take help from family and friends or from a healthcare professional for a healthy weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
Obesity is rising amongst pregnant women. There are many pregnancy complications that occur due to obesity. Overweight or obesity is the root cause of all the complications and the complications can be severe in an obese woman who is pregnant. BMI more than 30 or equal to 30 increases the risk of complications for the mother and a baby. Consulting a healthcare professional will help manage the risks of mother and child. It will also enhance the health of a mother and child.