Excess weight raises pregnancy risks: study

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Being overweight or obese increases a woman's chances of having an extra-big baby ...

Excess weight in and of itself also sharply increased a woman's risk of pre-eclampsia ...

Women have more difficulty delivering very large babies, while these newborns are also at risk of suffering injury during birth, including shoulder dislocation. While women who are overweight or obese are known to run a greater risk of having very large babies and experiencing other pregnancy complications, it has been difficult to separate out the effects of a mother's weight from those of gestational diabetes ...

This led them to investigate whether BMI ... a standard measure of weight in relation to height used to gauge how fat or thin a person is -- might influence pregnancy risks and fetal and newborn health, independently of a woman's blood sugar levels.

... women with BMIs of 42 or greater ... were at more than triple the risk of having an excessively large baby, compared to the thinnest women in the study ...

The heaviest women's risks of having a C-section were more than doubled, while their likelihood of pre-eclampsia was 14-fold greater than for the leanest women ...

... dietary changes can effectively treat gestational diabetes for more than 90 percent of women with the condition.

"... treating gestational diabetes going forward is going to continue to be beneficial," the researcher said. "We have much less evidence at this point as to how to neutralize or reduce the impact of overweight on pregnancy outcome."

... it's probably a woman's weight before she gets pregnant, rather than how much she gains during pregnancy, that's important in determining risk.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448