Side effects of Obesity on Pregnancy

Obesity increases the risk of the following problems during pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy loss: Obese women have an increased risk of pregnancy loss or more commonly known as miscarriage compared with women of normal weight.
  • Birth defects: Babies born to obese women have an increased risk of having birth defects, such as heart defects and neural tube defects.
  • Problems with diagnostic tests: Too much accumulation of body fat makes it difficult to examine certain problems with the baby’s anatomy on an ultrasound exam. During labour it becomes difficult to even check the baby’s heart rate when the mother is obese.
  • Macrosomia: In this condition, the baby born is larger than normal. This increases the risk of the baby being injured during birth.
  • Preterm birth: Problems associated with a woman’s obesity, such as preeclampsia, may lead to a medically indicated preterm birth. This means that the baby is delivered early for a medical reason. Preterm babies are not as fully developed as babies who are born after 39 weeks of pregnancy. As a result, they have an increased risk of short-term and long-term health problems.
  • Stillbirth: The higher the woman’s BMI, the greater the risk of stillbirth.


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