54% of women aged 20-39 are overweight or obese.
Pregnancy obesity is associated with numerous complications for baby and mother including:
- 40-100% increased risk of stillbirth, depending on the severity of overweight/obesity
- Higher risk of preterm birth and preterm rupture of membranes
- Increased risk of maternal diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia.
- Higher risk for C Section: Overweight/obese women have C section rates in the 50-60% range
- Higher risk of birth injury (shoulder entrapment with subsequent nerve damage)
- Higher risk of infection: the infection rate in overweight/obese women who have C sections is 30 percent!
Infants born of overweight and obese mothers are at higher risk for low blood sugar in the neonatal period, and consequently are more susceptible to infection.
Maternal overweight/obesity has long-term impact on infants, inluding higher risk of childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Infants born of overweight/obese mothers are more likely to be obese during their own pregnancies, and deliver babies affected by overweight/obesity. Thus the “cycle of obesity“.
How does overweight/obesity do all these bad things?
We are learning excess fat tissue creates a chronic inflammatory state in the body. It raises levels of immune and stress chemicals. At high levels these chemicals can damage the placenta and impair its ability to nourish your baby.
What can I do help?
Consult your obstetric care provider about your weight. You need to know your body mass index (BMI) and your ideal pregnancy weight gain. Most weight is gained in the latter half of pregnancy between 20 weeks to term.
Keep it simple: Choose healthy foods. On a daily basis you should eat:
- Green vegetables (2 or more servings)
- Orange/yellow vegetables (1 or more servings)
- Protein (2-3 servings no larger than your fist)
- Whole grains (2-3 servings no larger than your fist)
- 2 snacks (nuts, extra veggies, fruit, hard cheese such as cheddar, apple, orange)
- NO FAST FOOD
- NO CHIPS
- NO SUGAR SODA