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How Does Obesity Affect Pregnancy

It’s natural for a woman to gain weight during her pregnancy. Since she’s eating for two, she needs more food, and she’s always craving nutrition that her body needs. Pregnant women gain weight throughout the nine months of carrying a child and sometimes even after they have given birth, but even though it’s normal, gaining weight to the point of becoming obese isn’t right.

Too Much “Baby Fat”

Obesity occurs when a person has so much excessive body fat, that his or her health is negatively affected. It’s caused by various factors, like poor diet, inactivity and health-related complications. You’re obese when your present weight is 30% more than your ideal body weight. You can calculate this using the BMI or Body Mass Index. Obesity affects people of any age, whether they are male or female. Many expecting women also experience it. Being obese and pregnant at the same time puts a woman in a hazardous health condition.

Even before they conceive, women encounter health risks linked to reproduction because of obesity. One of the many risks obese women have during their childbearing years is infertility. This is caused by stored fat, which changes the levels of the sex hormones the body produces. Pregnancy then becomes hard to achieve.

Obese moms-to-be can encounter numerous severe complications during their pregnancy. High blood pressure, miscarriage and diabetes are the most serious problems. They also become candidates for cesarean section delivery.

As for the baby, still birth, birth defects and fetal macrosomia are very common.

Obesity Complications For Mommy

A woman’s health becomes more delicate when she’s pregnant, especially if she’s obese. Here are several health conditions associated with obese pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes – This diabetes develops during pregnancy, a high blood sugar condition that occurs when the body doesn’t break down sugar properly because it doesn’t produce adequate insulin. Food is then used inappropriately. If this condition goes untreated, it affects the baby, causing it to become very big in utero, which then leads to a difficult childbirth.

Preeclampsia – This is also known as toxemia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, characterized by protein in the urine, fluid retention during the second half of the pregnancy and blood pressure. It occurs beyond the 20th week of gestation and during the first pregnancy of moms. It’s a rare, but serious obesity-related condition, and can cause blood flow to the placenta to be restricted, harming the unborn child.

Cesarean Section – The natural means of delivery becomes difficult due to obesity. Problems like positioning, maintaining airways and applying spinal anesthetic are encountered. Labor becomes slower and prolonged, and women are then advised to undergo cesarean operation instead.

Postpartum Infection – This is encountered by women who undergo cesarean section. They become more prone to a difficult postpartum recovery.

Baby Complications
The mommy isn’t the only one who encounters problems because of an obese pregnancy. The baby is also direly affected by this condition. Here are a couple of infant health problems associated with obesity.

Neural Tube Defects – During its development inside the mother’s womb, a baby becomes at risk of suffering dangerous neural tube defects. Just like anencephaly and spina bifida, this condition is also associated with low levels of folic acid occurring in the first trimester. It can easily be seen early, through ultrasound imaging, but the problem is that obese women make poor ultrasounds. The ultrasound waves cannot penetrate the extra fat layers, leading to late detection of this dilemma in the child.

Macrosoma – This is when the baby puts on too much weight during development, complicating delivery and labor. It becomes difficult for the baby to enter and exit the birth canal. Some babies even have their shoulders injured during childbirth, known as shoulder dystonia.

Baby Obesity – Kids of obese moms are at risk of becoming obese as they grow up.

Obese Moms Produce Obese Kids

Just like in adults, obesity in children is also a prevailing problem today, and unfortunately, it can start even during pregnancy. Moms may be the ones packing the pounds during the course of their pregnancy, but their babies are also affected. According to research, babies of obese mothers are very likely to suffer from obesity by the time they’re four years old (Obesity During Pregnancy). A dramatic increase of body fat between ages three and six is also noted.

Avoiding Obesity Complications

All these unpleasant and dangerous effects of obesity should be enough to convince moms to shed off pounds during or even before their maternity. Here are some effective ways to get started.

Lose weight before conception – Diet and undergo exercise before you get pregnant. If you are extremely obese, consider having an obesity surgery.

Watch your weight – Losing weight during pregnancy is not advisable, because it prevents the baby from getting needed nutrients. Instead, practice gaining weight in moderation.

Eat healthy – Opt for a healthy selection of snacks when hunger strikes. Nuts, fruits, vegetables, raisins and yogurt are nutritious and tasty examples.

Exercise – Even walking around the block every morning can help you avoid dangerous health problems.

Pregnant moms are expected to gain weight, but too much can be dangerous, too. Avoiding obesity is a must for any mom-to-be, so she will be healthy and blessed with a healthy baby, too. Learn more about pregnancy and staying healthy for you and your baby on the Pregnancy Facts website.

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