Weight Worries For Mother-To-Be

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Being seriously overweight during pregnancy increases dangers for both mother and unborn child, but little is being done to help obese mums-to-be ...

... maternal obesity has more than doubled over the last two decades with one in six pregnant women now facing extra risks to themselves and their babies.

More than half the women who die in pregnancy or childbirth are obese or overweight and being seriously overweight increases the likelihood of conditions such as cardiac disease, diabetes and pre-eclampsia and can be a contributing factor in stillbirth, congenital anomalies and prematurity.

"But very little is being done nationally to support women in achieving a healthy weight before bearing children" ... "Despite the potential risks, there is no strategic public information campaign."

... "Once obese women become pregnant there are still things they can do to minimise the potential for complications for themselves and their babies, such as healthy eating and moderate levels of physical activity," ...

... The lack of weight management services and weight gain guidance made it difficult for midwives to discuss obesity with women during pregnancy. "Midwives seek to build up a good relationship with women and they struggle to know how to initiate discussion with them about their weight as it is such a sensitive issue," ...

"There is an urgent need for obesity training for midwives and better communication between the public health and maternity services,"

Lessons could be learned from the development of smoking cessation services during pregnancy, she suggests. Midwives participating in the study felt that the national drive for smoking cessation with its structured training, support and funding had worked successfully, whereas previous local initiatives without that level of strategic support had failed.

Ideally, a preconception appointment would be attended by women who are planning a pregnancy and at this time, the midwife or doctor would provide some practical suggestions and goals to assist the woman to move to a better state of health prior to conceiving.

Learn more about private midwifery care and antenatal shared care