Obesity during pregnancy risks and health measures just-health.net electricity magnetism


Eating the right kind and quantity of food is essential during your pregnancy in order to ensure that the nutritional needs of your developing baby are met. Doctors generally encourage a small amount of weight gain in pregnant women. However, if you are already obese, is it safe to gain weight during pregnancy? Body mass index (BMI) value is calculated based on your weight and height and a BMI value of 30 and above indicates obesity. Is being obese a risk factor for complications associated with your pregnancy?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommend that you should not attempt to lose weight during pregnancy even if you had been overweight or obese when you got pregnant. However, studies have shown that you will have less risk of having a C-section and delivering an overweight baby, if you gain lesser weight than that recommended by IOM. However, this is recommended provided your doctor confirms that your baby is growing normally.

Studies have also shown that in obese and overweight pregnant females, the fetal development is normal even if they gain less body weight than the recommended values (for instance, weight gain of 6- 14 pounds instead of 15-25 pounds). It has also been found that their post-partum weight retention is also less. It is recommended that if you are obese and pregnant, you should consult your doctor about the ideal range of weight you should gain and if it is okay to gain lesser weight than what is recommended. The general guidelines for obesity and weight gain during pregnancy are:

Frequent and regular prenatal consultations with your doctor will help your doctor monitor your health and your baby’s health carefully. Further, talk to your doctor about any health problems you have such as diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. He might suggest medications and ways to manage or treat these conditions so that they might not cause complications during your pregnancy.

If you are obese and pregnant discuss a diet plan with your doctor or a registered dietician so you can eat a nutritious diet without gaining excess weight. Folic acid, calcium, iron and certain other essential nutrients are required for a healthy pregnancy, which can be supplemented by consuming a prenatal vitamin. Talk to your doctor or dietician if you are diabetic and require a special diet plan.

Generally pregnant women who have a moderate risk of developing gestational diabetes are subjected to the glucose challenge test at 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, in case of women who are obese, they are tested for gestational diabetes during the early stages of their pregnancy. They are screened for gestational diabetes even during their first prenatal visit.

If the tests are normal, they are again tested at 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your initial tests are positive, then your doctor will recommend further testing to confirm the diagnosis. In case you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor will advise dietary modifications and regular blood sugar monitoring throughout your pregnancy.

Generally ultrasound tests are advised for pregnant women during week 18 – 20 of their pregnancy to monitor fetal development. As ultrasound waves cannot easily penetrate abdominal fat, ultrasound monitoring of fetal development is not effective in case of obese pregnant women during early pregnancy. In such cases, ultrasound results will be more accurate if done during the later stages of pregnancy. For obese and pregnant women, ultrasound tests are recommended during week 20 – 22 of pregnancy.