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The Risks of Being Overweight During Pregnancy

18.10.2019 Posted By : PathKind Labs Team Share :
The Risks of Being Overweight During Pregnancy

Think that you will put on a few extra pounds during your pregnancy? Well, being on the heavier side is natural during pregnancy, but the one thing to avoid is being over-weight.

Obesity during pregnancy can have harmful impact on your as well as your baby’s health. It's better to know the effects beforehand to avoid problems later.

What are the ailments obese or overweight women face during pregnancy?

Being over-weight can harm your fertility by restricting normal ovulation.

Along with that, there’s a significant risk of developing complications like:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Developing diabetes during pregnancy resulting in risks for both mother and child.

Out of these problems, preeclampsia is the gravest one. The problem is characterized by high blood pressure, especially signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys.

Preeclampsia is a condition that a woman might experience after the 20th week of pregnancy, wherein the woman experiences high blood pressure with signs of organ damage i.e. liver or kidneys may not be efficiently working. This may also happen right after pregnancy.

What are the other risks of being obese or overweight while you’re pregnant?

  • The risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and recurrent miscarriage.
  • Being overweight may cause untimely birth of the child, i.e. being pregnant past your due day or problems during labor and birth.
  • You may also face the problem of losing weight after pregnancy. You may also need to stay in hospital longer as compared to women having a healthy weight.
  • A difficult vaginal delivery.
  • You may also feel your breathing stopping while you are sleeping. This condition is called sleep apnea.
  • Blood clot problems like venous thromboembolism (also called VTE). This is when a blood clot breaks off and travels through your blood to organs like the brain, lungs or heart. This can cause a stroke or heart attack. It is quite a serious condition. 
  • Being overweight may lead to a need for a C-section (caesarean birth) instead of normal birth, resulting in the risk of C-section complications, such as wound infections or losing too much blood.

How do these problems affect the infant?

  • The baby may be significantly larger that the average (fetal macrosomia) and may have more body fat, increasing the risk of childhood obesity and metabolic syndrome.
  • Premature birth
  • Birth defects such as NTD’s (Neural tube defects) i.e. defects of brain and spine. Having obesity makes it difficult to diagnose these conditions even with tests like ultrasound.
  • The baby may face Diabetes, heart disease, obesity, later in life.

What measures can be undertaken to avoid these problems and promote healthy pregnancy?

BEFORE PREGNANCY:

Get a pre-conception check. Your health provider can help you to lose weight before pregnancy or may recommend a daily vitamin or refer you to a dietician or obesity specialist. It is always better for you and your baby, if you have healthy weight before pregnancy

DURING PREGNANCY:

Make sure you seek prenatal care: Prenatal care helps your health care provider to keep a track of your weight or other conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, so as to manage them. Prenatal care refers to the medical care you get during pregnancy.

Make sure you follow a healthy diet: The most important thing during pregnancy is to eat healthy food. You are going to need calcium, iron and other essential nutrients for you and your baby. Discuss and come up with an apt diet plan to avoid gaining excessive weight during pregnancy and promote healthy pregnancy.

Be active: Be physically active and consult your health care provider about the activities safe for you.

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