Obesity in pregnancy is a common condition, as it is in the general population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a problem that affects nearly 302 million people worldwide.
Therefore, there are many women who start their pregnancy with a weight higher than desired. What happens is that obesity in pregnancy affects not only the mother’s health, but can also cause complications in the baby and in her development. That’s why we explain everything you need to know about the topic.
What is meant by obesity in pregnancy?
Obesity in pregnancy, as at any point in a woman’s life, defined as excess body fat. In general, to classify overweight and obesity problems, the body mass index is calculated (body mass index).
Body mass index is calculated by dividing weight by height squared. Thus, when the BMI is greater than 30, a person is already considered to be obese. Several grades are distinguished on the basis of these data:
- Class I obesity: when the BMI is between 30 and 34.9.
- Class II: when the body mass index is between 35 and 39.9.
- Extreme or class III obesity: the value exceeds 40.
It is important to know that this parameter is actually an approximation measure. In some cases, such as people who have a lot of muscle mass, the BMI can be high, though not at the expense of fat. Therefore, it should only be used as a guide.
The problem is that obesity has a huge impact on all areas of health. It increases cardiovascular risk and also impairs fertility.
According to a study published in the Peruvian Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, this condition produces hormonal changes that end up decreasing female fertility. Indeed, not only does it impair fertility with natural methods, but it can also reduce the success of techniques such as fertilization in vitro.
How can obesity affect pregnancy?
Obesity in pregnancy is a risk factor for both the mother and the fetus. As far as the gestation process is concerned, this condition has been seen to greatly increase the possibility of suffering from complications.
First of all, how explains the Mayo Clinicincreases the risk of miscarriage. It consists in the fact that the baby dies inside the uterus during the first 20 weeks of gestation. Likewise, it has been linked to recurrent miscarriages and stillbirths.
At the time of delivery, obesity in pregnancy makes caesarean sections more frequent. This, in turn, means slower postpartum recovery and wound infections.
Preeclampsia is one of the most serious complications during pregnancy which has a strong association with obesity. It raises the mother’s blood pressure and can damage the placenta, affecting blood flow to the fetus.
Risks to maternal health
For pregnant women, obesity in pregnancy poses a very significant risk to their health. In his opinion doric study, Obesity increases the chance of suffering a cardiovascular event. For example, it is related to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
Likewise, it increases blood pressure and the risk of gestational diabetes. This disorder consists of the increase in blood glucose values of the mother during pregnancy. It can cause the fetus to grow larger than normal (a condition called macrosomia) and has problems related to hypoglycemia at birth.
Risks of obesity in pregnancy for the baby
Obesity in pregnancy, as we pointed out in the previous section, can cause the baby to be larger than normal. Not only that complicates I’m leaving, but makes the child more prone to childhood obesity and lifelong diabetes.
A research carried out by National Institute of Child Health found that obesity in pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects in the baby. The neural tube is the structure with which the brain and spinal cord are formed. On the other hand, this situation has also been associated with heart ailments and injuries during childbirth.
How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?
The truth is that weight during pregnancy tends to increase and so it should be. Doctors make an estimate of how much should be increased within healthy limits depending on the mother’s underlying situation. That is, before pregnancy, depending on the maternal BMI, the kilograms that can be taken are recommended.
In the event that there is already obesity and the pregnancy is only one child, it is usually indicated that the weight gain is limited to 9 kilograms. If the pregnancy is multiple, you can gain between 11 and 19 kilograms.
This is because trying to lose weight at this stage can cause anxiety for the mother. It also involves premature birth or the baby being smaller than recommended at birth. However, each case must be specifically examined by the specialist.
Tips for a healthy pregnancy
To have a healthy pregnancy, it’s best to plan it. In this way, particular lifestyle habits can be adopted. For example, you can try to lose weight to reduce the incidence of pregnancy obesity.
Ideally, keep a healthy diet and balanced. The consumption of processed and high-fat foods should be reduced, as should the intake of alcohol or any other drugs. In addition, it is recommended to introduce foods rich in folic acid and iron.
Likewise, it is important to try to do moderate physical activity. If you get into a good habit of exercising, you can continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy, which will bring numerous benefits for the baby and the mother. For example, go for a walk or swim.
If you suffer from obesity in pregnancy or are thinking of becoming pregnant, the most important thing is to consult your doctor. They will make a number of recommendations specific to your case that will improve your likelihood of having a healthy pregnancy.
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