Pregnancy carries risks as it is but expectant mothers may be putting themselves and their unborn children at additional danger by being overweight or obese.
For starters, pregnant women tipping the scales beyond what is ideal have double (triple if obese) the risk of pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure. Overweight women are also twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes and the risk increases eight fold when a pregnant woman is obese. Obesity also doubles the likelihood of miscarriage and increases chances of an infant being born weak which will neonatal intensive care or with a congenital abnormality.
To be considered overweight, body mass index pre-pregnancy must be from 25 to 29.9. A pre-pregnancy BMI of 30 and more makes a woman obese. Pregnancy will naturally lead to weight gain but extra pounds gained must fall within certain limits to be considered acceptable. For a pregnant woman already overweight, a weight gain of 15 to 25 pounds by term's end is recommended. For pregnant women who are obese, weight gain must be limited to between 11 and 20 pounds for the duration of the pregnancy.
Women looking to become pregnant may choose to drop the extra pounds in an effort to avoid the added complications being overweight or obese may bring. There are many ways to lose weight but those who want swift results may elect to undergo bariatric surgery.
As it is, bariatric surgery is safe and effective as a weight loss method, spurring weight loss by reducing the stomach's capacity. This allows an individual to cut back on their food intake without much work, restricting calories naturally to drop the pounds.
Putting the mother at her ideal weight, bariatric surgery can help bring down risks of high blood pressure and diabetes. A Swedish study has found, however, undergoing the procedure before pregnancy may lead to other problems.
Kari Johansson and colleagues used data from nationwide health registries in Sweden, identifying 596 pregnancies from women who gave birth after getting bariatric surgery from 2006 to 2011. These cases of pregnancy were then compared to 2,356 others from women who did not undergo bariatric surgery but had the same body mass index as the first group.
The researchers found that those who underwent bariatric surgery were less likely to deliver larger babies. When compared, 22 percent of women from the comparison group gave birth to large babies while only nearly 9 percent of those who got bariatric surgery had babies big for gestational age.
The procedure may be an effective weight loss tool but those looking to become pregnant should choose other methods to help them drop the extra pounds so they avoid future complications during pregnancy.