Facebook Pixel

Complications Increase During Pregnancy For Obese and Overweight Mothers and Their Babies

Rate This

It’s no secret that being overweight or obese is hazardous to your health. But what many overweight and obese women don’t consider is the effect that this may have on their unborn child during pregnancy.

In the May 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, both the American Dietetic Association and the American Society for Nutrition collaborated on an article advocating for diet and nutrition counseling for obese and overweight women of childbearing age. This is an attempt by the organizations to decrease the number of overweight and obese women who become pregnant because of the detrimental effects pregnancy can have on both the mother and baby.

“Among obese women, who already have aberrations in glucose and lipid metabolism, the further adjustments induced by hormonal changes in pregnancy create a metabolic milieu that enhances the risk for metabolic disorders such as gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia,” state the authors, Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD, RD, LDN, assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina; and Janet C. King, PhD, senior scientist at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, Calif.

Some of the risks to the baby, according to the article, are: a higher prevalence of congenital anomalies, spina bifida and anencephaly (twice as common if the mother is overweight or obese), oral clefts, heart anomalies, hydrocephaly and abdominal wall abnormalities.

Because of these potentially devastating side effects of becoming pregnant while overweight or obese, the article recommends counseling before, during and after pregnancy for all women in this category. Their goal is to educate women about the risks and complications posed to fertility, their children and themselves, and to better prepare them to deal with these issues.

Are you overweight or obese? Find out by calculating calculating your body mass index (BMI), an estimate of overall body fat based on your height and weight.

Add a Comment3 Comments

I have to say that Gestational Diabetes and Hypertension do not only occur in obese women-- though there are more likely to. I am by no means overweight or obese and during my first pregnancy I experienced a mild form of Diabetes and developed hypertension the day of delivery. All I could think of was if my baby was going to be okay, would he have macrosomia like some GD babies do? Etc. My son was born very healthy at 6lbs 10oz but I think it's important for us to take care of ourselves as women and more importantly as the missile that feeds and provides life to our children for the 9 months they live inside us. No matter what our weight, eating as best as possible for our babies is the best thing we can do for them.

November 20, 2009 - 6:40am
EmpowHER Guest

Obesity is always a problem and it is even more serious when it comes to pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is one such disorder that may occur during pregnancy for women who are obese. A well maintained diet can only help the women in pregnancy to avoid such a disorder that can affect both the mother and also the baby.

November 19, 2009 - 11:02pm
EmpowHER Guest

No one wants to be overweight! The most difficult thing to be able to control to keep your weight in check is mindless grazing. It is not always easy to do, but eat to live don’t live to eat. Some type of daily regimen is needed by everyone; but do not diet, your body needs nourishment. Diets and diet aids do not help anyone! The only way to successfully lose weight and get the body that you deserve is by using the right information. This information is in the book Lose Weight Using Four Easy Steps which can be ordered through the website (Product site removed by an Empowher.com Moderator) Everyone who has gotten a copy of this book has lost weight and become healthier.

June 9, 2009 - 4:31pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!