Risk of Obesity in Pregnancy
Obesity places a woman at risk of several pregnancy complications, including:
- Gestational diabetes
- Blood Clots
- Sleep Apnea
- Labor complications
Maternal obesity also presents dangers to your unborn baby. Some ways fetal health is impacted by obesity includes:
- Higher premature delivery rates
- Macrosomia (a term that describes a larger than normal infant)
- An increase in long term health risks such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- Greater risk of congenital abnormalities
- Higher risk of childhood obesity
- More likely to be stillborn
Managing Obesity in Pregnancy
Women who are obese during pregnancy require special care. They should be carefully screened for gestational diabetes early in pregnancy. While ultrasound is typically performed at 18 to 20 weeks gestation, in women with a BMI over the 97.5th percentile, only 63 percent of normally visible structures can be well visualized at this time. This means ultrasound is often delayed until 20-22 weeks gestation. Your OB/GYN may order additional ultrasounds along with more frequent prenatal visits to more closely monitor the health of both mother and baby.
Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended, but your obstetrician may suggest limiting weight gain if you are overweight or obese. Eating healthfully during pregnancy will ensure your baby receives the nutrients needed and improve the chances of a healthy delivery.
Exercising on most days of the week is also recommended. Talk with your OB/GYN about forms of exercise that are safe for pregnant women.