Obesity Carries Pregnancy Risks
Obese Women More Likely to Have Babies With Birth Defects, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Obesity & Birth Defects: Other Opinions
The new review further confirms what physicians have known for a long time,
says Sina Haeri, MD, a clinical instructor of maternal-fetal medicine and a
fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of
The problem with some of the previous studies, he tells WebMD, is that they
had some methodological weaknesses. "So we took it all with a grain of
salt," says Haeri, who recently reported that teen moms who are obese are
more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes during the pregnancy (gestational
diabetes) and to have cesarean deliveries.
In the new analysis, he says, the U.K. researchers took all the smaller
studies and looked at them together and still found the obesity and birth
The new analysis confirms in a convincing way what physicians have been
observing and studies have been suggesting for a few years, says Peter
Bernstein, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical
Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.
Obesity & Birth Defects: Preconception Counseling
Women who are obese should have preconception counseling to minimize the
risks of their excess weight to the newborns, Rankin says.
That is also the opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists. The organization's committee on obstetric practice issued its
committee opinion on "Obesity in Pregnancy" in September 2005,
recommending preconception counseling. Obese women should be informed of the
risks associated with maternal obesity, be screened for gestational diabetes,
and be assessed for the need for supplements of vitamins and minerals,
including folate. Obese women should be advised to gain less weight than other
women -- 15 pounds compared to 25 to 35 for women who were normal weight before
pregnancy -- the opinion says.
"The most important prenatal visit is probably the one that happens
before the woman gets pregnant," says Bernstein, who serves on the CDC's
Select Panel on Preconception Care.
"It is not advisable to try to lose weight while pregnant," Rankin
says. "The important thing is to have a sensible diet and try to eat