Obese women face increased health risk during pregnancy

London, June 4 (IANS) Women with obesity have a range of increased health risks in pregnancy, both for them and their babies, compared with those in the healthy weight category, according to a new research.

So, women with obesity should lose weight before they become pregnant, to avoid complications.

“We need to provide pre-conceptual health education, through national subsidised programmes, to support and encourage women with a high BMI to lose weight before they conceive. The benefits for them and their babies can be significant,” said study author Cecily Begley from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin.

Maternal obesity, defined as having a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or over when starting pregnancy is linked with a range of adverse outcomes for mothers and babies during pregnancy, the birth and post-natally.

Maternal obesity is also linked to greater risk of pre-term birth, large-for-gestational-age babies, fetal defects, congenital anomalies and perinatal death.

Maternal obesity is also found to be the most significant factor leading to obesity in their children and coupled with excessive weight gain in pregnancy.

The researchers produced a systematic overview of 22 systematic reviews, which looked at a total of 573 research studies comparing outcomes between pregnant women with obesity and those of healthy weight.

“Given the high proportion of pregnant women with obesity, it is crucial to invest in weight loss support for these women, to reduce the risks for mothers and babies,” said Michael Turner, director, National Clinical Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Ireland.

The study appeared in the journal Obesity Reviews.

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