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Obesity and Pregnancy     

Obesity which is the most common epidemic in today’s world is known to cause several diseases and health problems like arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. But very recently it was discovered that obesity is equally harmful during pregnancy. If an obese woman is pregnant then it may lead to several complications involving both the mother and the child.

What is obesity?

If a person weighs 30% more than his normal ideal weight then he is said to be obese. This overweighing is because of the extra fat deposition in the body. The main cause for the obesity is over eating and no physical activity. But there are also several other cause that lead to obesity like internal health problems which include hypothyroidism or under active thyroid and diabetes, intake of rich carbohydrate diet, slow metabolic rate, heredity, etc. Obesity is measured with the help of a scale called body mass index (BMI). A person’s height and weight are measured to calculate the body mass index. This generally ranges from 18 to 40. If the body mass index is in between 18.5 to 25 then the respective person is said to be of normal weight. If the body mass index is in between 25 to 29.9 then the respective person is said to be over weight. If the body mass index is in more than 30 then the respective person is said to be obese.

What complications does the obese mother face during pregnancy?

Obese women face many complications when compared to other normal pregnant ladies. Few of the major complications are mentioned below.

Preeclampsia: Obese pregnant women are vulnerable to a condition called Preeclampsia because of which they experience high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling in the body. When this condition worsens, the placental blood flow is also interrupted to prevent reaching the baby. This stage is very serious as the baby may die due to the lack of the placental blood.

Gestational Diabetes: Almost everyone knew what diabetes is. It is a condition in which the glucose is not accepted by the body cells and it remains in the blood raising the blood glucose levels. This generally occurs due to the lack of insulin in the body or also because of insulin resistance. Gestational Diabetes is a similar to diabetes that occurs during the pregnancy periods. During this stage the sugars in the body are not broken down. The life of the baby will be under danger during this condition due to the build up of too much of fat material around the uterus.

Cesarean Section: Obese women will have to prefer Cesarean Section instead of the normal delivery since the latter may be very slow and difficult. The lady may even experience several other complications if the normal delivery is preferred.

Postpartum Infection: Another major that obese pregnant women face is their recovery after the delivery. They tend to experience a very slow recovery. And also they may develop Postpartum Infections after the Cesarean Section.

What complications will the baby face during this pregnancy period?

The baby will have its equal share of complications if the mother is obese. Most of the complications may even lead to the death of the baby. Few of the major complications faced by the baby are mentioned below.

Macrosoma: Sometimes, even the baby becomes obese and weighs more than the normal weight. This condition is termed as Macrosoma. In this case, the normal delivery is very tough because of the overweighing of the baby. Few such babies will injure their shoulders since the birth canal will be too small for them. This condition is known as shoulder dystonia.

Neural Tube Defects: Babies of the pregnant ladies are very much vulnerable of having Neural Tube Defects. Spina bifida and anencephaly are the two most common neural tube defects that have been observed in such cases. These defects are also seen in the normal babies. But they are cured in the initial stages itself after detecting with the help of an ultra sound scan. But in case of obese women the ultra sound scan is not that efficient and often does not detect these defects. Because of these reasons, neural tube defects are commonly seen in the babies of the obese women.


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