Obesity & Pregnancy

Obesity when pregnant puts both mother and baby at great risk, as obesity doubles the risk of the baby being born with neural tube defects. Even if the intake of folic acid is adequate, it doesn’t completely protect the baby from this risk. Obese women have a greater risk of developing complications during pregnancy as compared with normal-weight women.

Pregnant women who are obese run higher risks of infertility and complications during pregnancy, which include hypertension, gestational diabetes and blood clots. Women who are obese mostly require cesarean sections. Only few obese women have normal pregnancies.

A recent study in France found that prenatal care costs in hospitals for obese women range from five to sixteen times more than for women of normal weight, depending on how obese the woman was. It was recommended that women should try and lose weight before getting pregnant with diet and frequent exercise. But dieting during pregnancy is not the answer. Adequate nutrition is important for pregnant women and women planning pregnancy.

Women who have undergone a surgery and have gastric banding can have normal pregnancies as compared with women have not had the surgery, but it is recommended that pregnancy be delayed until surgery-related weight loss has stabilized.

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