Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obesity and Pregnancy

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One of the main reasons that I've really wanted to lose weight has had to do with childbirth and the risk that being obese causes both to the mother and the fetus.

I'm not saying that overweight/obese women cannot have healthy children. I'm sure they do and quite frequently. However when looking at my personal life and looking towards the person that I'd like to eventually be, I see no reason to make my life any harder than it has to be.

Pregnancy is like running a marathon and the healthier you are, the easier it will be. I don't feel great in the body I'm in
now so I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be this size and pregnant.

The complications for women of larger body types during the actual birth inlude:
  • Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a condition which causes high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling during pregnancy. When serious, preeclampsia can restrict placental blood flow, endangering baby.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It prevents your body from breaking down sugar and can put your baby at risk for gaining too much weight in utero.
  • Cesarean Section: Women who are obese during pregnancy have an increased risk of experiencing problems during delivery. Labor is more likely to be slow and prolonged, increasing the likelihood of cesarean section.
  • Postpartum Infection: Obesity during pregnancy also makes you more vulnerable to experiencing a difficult postpartum recovery. In particular, if you have had a c-section, you are at risk for developing dangerous postpartum infections.

Complications for Baby
If you are obese during your pregnancy, you baby is also at risk for developing some dangerous health issues.

  • Macrosoma: Macrosoma is a condition in which your baby puts on too much weight during development. This can complicate labor and delivery, making it difficult for your baby to enter and exit the birth canal. Some large babies have their shoulders injured during birth. This is known as shoulder dystonia.
  • Neural Tube Defects: Babies born to obese mothers are also at increased risk of suffering dangerous neural tube defects during development. Neural tube defects, like spina bifida and anencephaly, are often associated with low levels of folic acid during the first trimester. These defects can frequently be detected early in pregnancy through the use of ultrasound imaging. However, women who are obese often produce poor ultrasounds. Because the ultrasound waves have trouble penetrating extra layers of fat, blurry images are produced. As a result, neural tube defects aren’t always detected in these babies.
  • Childhood Obesity: Studies show that babies who are born to obese mothers are more likely to suffer from obesity by the time they reach the age of four. In one recent study, 29% of children born to obese mothers were also obese by the age of four, compared with only 9% of babies born to mothers of normal weight.

Enough of that for now. If you want to see some awesome birth pictures go here and oooh and ahhh. I'd like to use this photographer in my own birth.

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