What is the link between obesity and pregnancy?
The physical and mental health of the mother is integral when expecting a baby. The good mental and physical health of the mother significantly reduces the chances of complications during birth. Obesity is one of the most common and ignored diseases globally.
Like other chronic mental and physical diseases, obesity in a mother can affect the health of the mother as well as the baby. Obesity may be calculated through BMI. A mother’s body mass index exceeding 30 would be considered to be obese. In this article, we discuss how obesity might affect pregnancy and what we can do about it.
How can obesity affect pregnancy?
There are various ways through which obesity can affect pregnancy. From conceiving to delivery, there are many ways in which it affects the health of the mother and the baby.
Here are many ways in which obesity affects pregnancy:
- Reduce fertility
A high BMI might affect the fertilisation of regular ovulation. Even if an obese woman ovulates regularly, it can be difficult to get pregnant.
- Increase the risk of unsuccessful IVF
IVF refers to Vitro fertilisation. IVF takes place when a woman’s egg is fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. Obesity in women may increase the chances of unsuccessful IVF.
Miscarriage, recurrent miscarriages, and stillbirth are all conditions where the baby might not survive during the pregnancy. Obese women are prone to these conditions.
- Heart problems
Obesity in general increases one’s risk of developing heart diseases. Obese pregnant women have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Sleeping disorder
Obese people are more prone to various sleeping disorders. Obese pregnant women may be prone to sleep apnea which can also be life-threatening.
- Damage to other organs
Being pregnant as an obese woman may affect the health of your other organs. There is a risk of damage to the liver, kidneys, and other important organs.
- Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes that might occur during pregnancy. Many factors increase the risk for GD one of them being obesity.
- Need for C-section
A C-section is another way of delivery. Obese women might have to seek C-section when delivering their baby. C-sections can make the mother prone to wound infections.
- Respiratory issues
Obesity increases one’s risk of respiratory diseases. This risk may be even higher in obese mothers.
What can be done?
There are various corrective measures that can help you prevent these complications. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help.
- Maintain a healthy weight
As discussed, obesity as a whole can affect the health of the mother and the baby. The only solution to a safer pregnancy is to achieve a healthy weight before trying to conceive.
- Check for sleeping disorders
As discussed, obese mothers may be prone to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening can should be tested before trying to conceive.
- Avoid unhealthy substances
As you may know, unhealthy substances such as alcohol, tobacco, etc. are to be completely avoided during pregnancy. You are also encouraged to avoid them when trying to conceive. These habits might increase your risk of various disorders and slow down weight loss.
- Check for gestational diabetes
Similar to sleep apnea, it is ideal to regularly check for diabetes before and during your pregnancy.
What is the takeaway?
If your BMI is higher than 30, you should consider losing weight before trying for pregnancy. As discussed, obesity can cause various chronic diseases in pregnant mothers. Although many of these complications may be manageable, that may not be the case every time. Staying healthy, working out, and eating right is the key to safe and healthy pregnancy.