Pregnancy Problems

Pregnancy Problems

What are pregnancy problems?

Overweight and obesity raise the risk of health problems for both mother and baby that may occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are overweight or obese may have an increased risk for

  • developing gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy)
  • having preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy that can cause severe problems for both mother and baby if left untreated)
  • needing a C-section and, as a result, taking longer to recover after giving birth

Babies of overweight or obese mothers are at an increased risk of being born too soon, being stillborn (dead in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy), and having neural tube defects (defects of the brain and spinal cord).

How are pregnancy problems linked to overweight?

Pregnant women who are overweight are more likely to develop insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. Overweight also increases the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, and severe obesity increases surgery time and blood loss.

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can have long-term effects for both mother and child. These effects include that the mother will have overweight or obesity after the child is born. Another risk is that the baby may gain too much weight later as a child or as an adult.

If you are pregnant, check the sidebar for general guidelines about weight gain. Talk to your health care provider about how much weight gain is right for you during pregnancy.

How can weight loss help?

If you are overweight or obese and would like to become pregnant, talk to your health care provider about losing weight first. Reaching a normal weight before becoming pregnant may reduce your chances of developing weight-related problems. Pregnant women who are overweight or obese should speak with their health care provider about limiting weight gain and being physically active during pregnancy.

Losing excess weight after delivery may help women reduce their health risks. For example, if a woman developed gestational diabetes, losing weight may lower her risk of developing diabetes later in life.

Source: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/health_risks.htm#k