Being overweight and pregnant: Risks and what you can do about it?

Overweight and pregnant

Mothers to be who are overweight can also expect to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby. In other words, the fact that you are overweight may have little impact on your pregnancy. Nevertheless, you should at this time make doubly sure that you are follow a healthy diet during pregnancy especially if you are overweight and pregnant.

Unfortunately in some cases, being overweight during pregnancy can cause complications for both you and your baby. You are considered to be overweight if your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9 before pregnancy. And you’re considered to be obese if your BMI is 30.0 or higher before pregnancy.

Risks to you if you are overweight and pregnant

  • High blood pressure, preeclampsia and blood clotting problems. Preeclampsia is a condition that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or right after delivery. It’s when a pregnant woman has high blood pressure and signs that some of her organs, like her kidneys and liver, may not be working properly.
  • Gestational diabetes. This is a kind of diabetes that some women get during pregnancy. Diabetes is when your body has too much sugar metabolized as glucose in the blood.
  • Cesarean birth (C-section). This is a delivery surgery in which your baby is born through an incision that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus. If you’re obese, you’re more likely to have complications from a c-section, like an infection or losing too much blood. Also, understand that obese women have more chance of a C-section delivery than normal delivery.
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth -  Research suggests that even a small increase in the weight of an obese woman is linked to an increased risk of fetal death, stillbirth or even infant death. Such women also run the increased risk of a miscarriage.

Risks for your baby if you are overweight and pregnant

Being overweight and obese could be detrimental to the health of your baby as well because of the following reasons.

  • Premature birth. This is when your baby is born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. This is too soon and can cause serious health problems for your baby.
  • Macrosomia (also called large for gestational age or LGA). This means your baby weighs more than 4.5 kgs at birth. When a baby so big, it could cause complications during labor and birth, including possible injury to your baby. This also dramatically increases your chances of needing a C-section for the baby’s delivery.
  • Diabetes, heart disease and obesity later in life

What can you can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy?

The good news is that by making a few simple changes you can easily protect yourself and your baby's wellbeing, even if you are overweight and pregnant. Eat healthily, exercise regularly and stick to weight-gain guidelines to reduce the chances of complications to both yourself and your baby. Your diet in pregnancy will go a long way in making sure that the outcomes are positive. Other than that, make note of the following:

  • Before pregnancy, get a preconception checkup. Your doctor can help you find ways to eat healthy and be physically active.
  • Get early and regular prenatal care.
  • Talk to your provider about how much weight to gain during pregnancy.
  • Don’t diet. Some diets can reduce the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop.
  • Do something active every day. Talk to your provider about activities that are safe for you.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet throughout pregnancy