We all are aware that obesity leads to many weight related diseases or chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc. But beyond ourselves, obese mothers pose serious health risks to newborns. In fact, the numbers are staggering and research confirms that maternal obesity puts children at increased risk of developing congenital heart defects. Children of obese mothers are on average 15% more likely to develop a heart defect, while children of severe obese mothers are 33% more likely to develop a heart defect. To read more, visit https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/risk-newborn-heart-defects-increases-maternal-obesity. During pregnancy, obesity can put both mom and baby at risk of severe complications. Some of the complications mom and baby may face with obesity are:
Maternal Complications Associated with Obesity
- Hypertension & Preeclampsia
- Gestational Diabetes
- Cesarean Delivery
- Post-Partum Infection
Complications for Babies
- Neural Tube Defects
- Type II Diabetes
- Congenital Heart Defects
Weight loss before pregnancy can reduce a child’s risk of developing a heart defect and other complications related to maternal obesity and can make pregnancy a pleasant experience. To reduce you and your newborn’s risk;
Lose weight before becoming pregnant: If you are planning a pregnancy, consider seeking the advice of your family physician, even moderate weight loss can reduce you and your baby’s risk of complications. Those considering weight loss surgery can consider pregnancy 18 months post operatively – consult your bariatric physician to discuss your unique circumstances.
Keep weight gain in check during pregnancy: Follow your physician’s guidelines about weight gain during pregnancy. Obese mothers don’t need to gain as much weight during pregnancy as average weight individuals. However, losing weight while pregnant is strictly discouraged as it can prevent your baby from obtaining the proper nutrients to require to grow and thrive.
Exercise before and during pregnancy: As long as you are maintaining your regular exercise and not increasing intensity, regular exercise is encourage during pregnancy, and unless otherwise indicated by your physician. Consult your physician about your exercise routines.
Whatever weight your; don’t be discouraged. Being watchful of weight gain and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regime can keep both you and your baby in good shape.