Obesity and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know
posted by Maria Oneida, MD | February 22, 2019
Being overweight or obese during pregnancy can impact not only your health but also the health of your baby. Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat, and most healthcare providers use the body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity. This measurement is based on your weight and height. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI over 30.0 indicates obesity.
Healthy pregnancy weight is determined by your pre-pregnancy weight, your BMI and your overall health. Generally, if your BMI is normal before pregnancy, you will gain between 25 and 25 pounds during your pregnancy. Overweight women may only need to gain 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy. If you’re obese, you should only gain 11 to 20 pounds during your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will have specific guidelines for your pregnancy and health.
Obese women often have longer labors when they give birth. Obesity during pregnancy also puts you at higher risk of certain conditions:
Obesity can also put your baby at risk. For example:
Overweight and obese women can have healthy pregnancies, despite the risk, but it’s important to be careful about weight management, diet and exercise during pregnancy. Your doctor may also make special considerations for your delivery and suggest early screenings for gestational diabetes as well as screenings for obstructive sleep apnea.
If you’re concerned about your weight during pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider about safe weight loss. Work closely with your doctor to help you monitor your baby’s development and your health conditions during your pregnancy.
“Taking Care of Vaginal Tears After Delivery.” Healthline.
“Healing after a perineal tear.” HealthInfo.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.