Pregnant women are packing on too many kilograms, risking their health and that of their babies - and costing the health system a fortune.
A staggering 41.5 per cent of the 7735 women who gave birth at Auckland's National Women's Hospital in 2009 were classed as overweight or obese.
Those with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25 were considered overweight, while those who exceeded 30 were said to be obese.
... national and international research showed it was a growing problem ...
... Big mums ... were at increased risk of:
* Developing diabetes and other serious pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia.
* Having a stillbirth. There is a two-fold increase for obese mothers.
* Needing a caesarean section.
* Breast-feeding problems.
* Having a big baby, which in turn is at risk of becoming an obese child.
... Another concern was a trend in pregnant women, aged under 25, being obese.
... obese mums also had a higher chance of having a baby with an abnormality ...
Nutrition and exercise are the foundations of a healthy pregnancy, healthy birth and healthy baby. In my service. I focus a lot on optimising women's nutrition because it is a modifiable aspect of care that can really make a difference. For women choosing homebirths, I think it's especially important to make really healthy food choices and to exercise most days of the week. I acknowledge that it's really hard to change habits - especially exercise and nutrition habits - so I provide lots of support, guidance and motivational tools to help women work towards health.