Obesity during pregnancy can provoke later health problems in the baby, as well as raise the risk of complexities during pregnancy. Discover its harmful consequences and how to avoid it.
Obesity during pregnancy is a normal condition, as in the general population. According to the World Health Organization ( WHO ), it is a dilemma that influences almost 302 million people in the world.
Consequently, several women start pregnancy with a weight greater than desired. What occurs is that obesity during pregnancy changes not only the health of the mother but can also produce complexities in the baby and its development. That is why we describe everything you need to acknowledge the point.
What is supposed obesity during pregnancy?
Obesity during pregnancy, as at any time in a woman’s life, is described as excess body fat. In general, to analyze the problems of overweight and obesity, the body mass index ( BMI ) is calculated.
Body mass index is calculated by distributing weight by height squared. In this way, when the BMI is greater than 30, a person is already rated obese. Several degrees are defined based on this data:
- Class I obesity: When the BMI is between 30 and 34.9.
- Class II: When the body mass ratio is between 35 and 39.9.
- Extreme obesity or class III: The value surpasses 40.
It is vital to know that this parameter is actually an estimated measure. In some cases, such as in people with a lot of muscle mass, the BMI can be great, even if it is not at the amount of fat. For this purpose, it should only be applied as a guide.
The dilemma is that obesity has an immense influence on all areas of health. It enhances cardiovascular risk and also harms fertility.
A study published in the Peruvian Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics describes this situation produces hormonal shifts that end up reducing female fertility. In fact, not only does it change fertility in natural ways, but it can even decrease the success of procedures such as in vitro fertilization.
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How can obesity affect pregnancy?
Obesity during pregnancy is a risk factor for both the fetus and the mother. With consideration of the gestation process, it has been seen that this situation significantly enhances the chance of complications.
First, as the Mayo Clinic describes, the risk of miscarriage is grown. This consists of the baby dying inside the uterus during the first 20 weeks of gestation. Likewise, it has been associated with chronic miscarriages and stillbirth.
When giving birth, obesity during pregnancy causes cesarean sections more common. This, in turn, means slower postpartum rehabilitation and wound infections.
Preeclampsia is one of the most severe dilemmas during pregnancy that has a strong connection with obesity. It raises the mother’s blood pressure and can harm the placenta, jeopardizing the blood flow to the fetus.
Risks to the mother’s health
For pregnant women, obesity during pregnancy acts as a very big risk to their health. According to the Dorica study, obesity increases the chance of undergoing a cardiovascular event. For instance, it is relevant to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
Furthermore, it raises blood pressure and the risk of gestational diabetes. This disease consists of an increase in the mother’s blood glucose values during pregnancy. It can make the fetus grow larger than normal (a condition called macrosomia ) and to have obstacles associated with hypoglycemia at birth.
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Risks of obesity during pregnancy on the baby
Obesity during pregnancy, as we have looked out for in the previous section, can let the baby be larger than normal. This not only hinders childbirth but makes the child more inclined to childhood obesity and diabetes throughout life.
Research conducted by the National Institute of Child Health observed that obesity during pregnancy can produce neural tube defects in the baby. The neural tube is the formation by which the brain and spinal cord are developed. On the other hand, this condition is linked with cardiac disorders and injuries during delivery.
How Much Weight You Should Gain During Pregnancy?
The truth is that weight during pregnancy normally increases and it should be. Doctors determine how much to increase within healthy limits depending on the mother’s baseline situation. That is, before pregnancy, depending on the maternal BMI, the kilograms that can be taken are suggested.
In the case that there is already obesity and the pregnancy is with a single baby, it is normally shown that the weight gain is restricted to 9 kilograms. If the pregnancy is multiple, between 10 and 20 kilograms can be taken.
This is because trying to lose weight at this stage can provoke anxiety in the mother. It even causes premature delivery or the baby being smaller than suggested at birth. Yet, specialists should review each case individually.
Tips for a healthy pregnancy
To have a healthy pregnancy, it is best to have it planned. In this way, you can adopt specific lifestyle practices. For example, you can try to lose weight to decrease the rate of obesity during pregnancy.
The ideal is to have a healthy and balanced diet. You should diminish the consumption of processed and high-fat foods, as well as reduce the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or any other drug. Also, we suggest to include foods rich in iron and folic acid.
Likewise, it is necessary to try to get moderate physical exercise. If you get into a good practice of exercise, you can proceed to do it during pregnancy, which will bring many advantages for the baby and the mother. For example, going for a walk. yoga or swimming.
If you undergo obesity during pregnancy or are considering getting pregnant, the most valuable thing is that you consult your health care provider. They will make a series of particular instructions for your case that will increase the possibility of having a healthy pregnancy.