Obesity Increases Pregnancy Risks
Although bariatric surgery is not an appropriate weight-loss strategy for everyone, it is considered the most effective way for obese people to lose weight and keep it off.
Ideally, women who plan to become pregnant should enter pregnancy at what’s considered a “healthy weight” according to the body mass index. Many women, however, do not meet that guideline. In fact, 40 percent of women nationwide have obesity, according to the latest federal statistics.
In some cases, being overweight or having obesity can make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.
While it’s possible to have a healthy pregnancy despite being obese, losing weight before getting pregnant can lower certain risks for the mother and baby.
Obesity during pregnancy can put a woman at risk for several serious health complications:
- Gestational diabetes – this is diabetes first diagnosed during pregnancy. It can increase the risk of having a cesarean delivery. After pregnancy, the effects of gestational diabetes carry on. Women will face a greater risk of having diabetes later in life. Their children will also be at risk.
- Preeclampsia – a serious high blood pressure disorder that can lead to seizures and, in rare cases, stroke. Preeclampsia can affect the kidneys and liver. It may force an early delivery of the baby.
- Sleep apnea – many people who have obesity also have this sleep disorder, which causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time while they’re asleep. During pregnancy, sleep apnea causes fatigue and boosts the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia and heart and lung disorders.
Obesity, pregnancy risks can affect baby’s development.
Obesity also puts a developing baby at risk, too. Ultrasounds on obese women may not be able to detect anatomical problems. It can also be difficult to check the baby’s heart rate during labor if the mom is obese.
Obesity also increases the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, stillbirth and birth defects. Babies born to obese mothers face a higher chance of having heart defects and neural tube defects.
Women who choose to have bariatric surgery before getting pregnant should delay getting pregnant for 12 to 24 months after surgery, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
To learn more about bariatric surgery, attend a free seminar at Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center.