Estimates show that the number of obese women who get pregnant has doubled in the last two decades and has now reached 15% of all pregnant women. Those who are overweight risk running into complications at birth or carry the baby more than the normal 9 month span.
Obese mothers represent one of the most common causes of death at birth. In 2007 numbers show that 50% of women who died while giving birth were obese. This puts even more pressure on the NHS. Hospitals had to fit their maternal units with new equipment such as superior operating tables, new wheel chairs and other aids, in order to facilitate the birth process of obese mothers and serve their size better.
Caesarean sections are not without risk themselves as complications can be encountered during these procedures. Infections, clots and sever bleeding while giving birth can cause obese women to deliver babies who have a higher risk of diabetes or getting obese themselves.
Scientists from Bristol University monitored 3,877 mother from West England during their pregnancy and then after a period of 16 years. The results showed that women who were previously underweight were now weighing two stones more. A normal weight gain is somewhere close to 11lb. Overweight women appear to put more weight after giving birth, so ‘eating for two’ is not that healthy for them nor their baby.
Dr. Abigail Fraser, the main author of the report, believes that monitoring mothers like this helps to add information regarding future health problems. She said: “Our findings suggest that regular monitoring of weight in pregnancy may need to be reconsidered because it provides a window of opportunity to prevent health problems later in life. You don’t need to eat for two in pregnancy because this will cause you problems in later life, and is also linked to a higher risk of your baby becoming obese in childhood.”
The results from the report were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers believe that it will help to raise awareness and make mothers think twice about their weight before thinking of having a baby. The numbers show that babies are the ones who get affected the most. Mothers also risk much by not being able to keep their weights in balance.