Common Pregnancy-Related Complications To Be Aware Of As An Overweight Or Obese Woman Who Is Expecting A Baby

If you are overweight or obese and are now pregnant, you are likely to find that you need more visits than women of average weight, and you are at a higher risk of developing specific complications of pregnancy, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. However, it is important to note that nearly one out of four women are obese at the time of conception, and most of them go on to deliver healthy babies at or near term full-term. Therefore, it is important to receive timely and appropriate prenatal care throughout your pregnancy and work with your physician or midwife to minimize your risks. In order to do so, it is a good idea to be aware of the following information.     

High Blood Pressure 

High blood can occur at any time during pregnancy, and the higher it gets, the more at risk you are of complications. In general, it can be diagnosed when your blood pressure is at or above 140/90 more than once. High blood pressure during pregnancy can negatively impact both you and your baby. For instance, it puts you at a higher risk of premature labor and can eventually progress to eclampsia, which used to be known as toxemia. That condition can result in fetal death and may manifest with few or no symptoms.

Fortunately, early prenatal care can diagnose blood pressure concerns. In general, you should see your doctor as soon as possible after conception and have frequent appointments throughout your pregnancy. If you develop high blood pressure, you may be advised to change your diet, take medication, reduce your stress, or even go on bedrest

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in as many as one out of ten pregnancies and is diagnosed when a woman who previously had normal blood sugar levels becomes diabetic as the result of her pregnancy. While the majority of women who experience this disease, which is also referred to as GD, will see their blood glucose levels return to normal after delivery, a small number of women stay diabetic even after giving birth. Managing your disease is essential, since if it left untreated, early labor is more likely, and babies born to women with undiagnosed or ineffectively treated GD are at an increased risk of being too big.

Excessively big babies are susceptible to their own health challenges, such as: 

  • Difficulty maintaining their own blood sugar after being born 
  • Trouble breathing on their own at the time of birth  
  • Birth injuries due to the challenges associated with giving birth to a bigger-than-average baby                      

Early treatment for GD includes dietary changes, as making appropriate food choices will often regulate maternal blood sugar levels without further interventions. If the problem persists or if sugar levels are still higher than they should be, oral medication or even insulin can become necessary. Your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist for dietary counseling. In addition, since diabetes typically results in a high-risk pregnancy, you may be asked to receive the rest of your prenatal care with a doctor who specializes in pregnancies similar to your own. Specifically, you may be advised to see a perinatologist or maternal fetal medicine specialist to exclusively oversee or jointly manage the rest of your pregnancy care with your existing doctor.   

In conclusion, many obese or overweight women give birth in the United States to healthy babies. If you are expecting a baby and there are a few extra pounds on your own frame, you should be aware of the issues described above as you plan for your prenatal care. For more information on prenatal care, contact a medical center like Bhupathy Vellore R MD-Women's Medical Group.