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Increase in pregnancy obesity leading to poor health outcomes for mums and infants, study finds – Health

Women who’re obese or overweight and planning to get pregnant ought to be inspired to scale back their weight, specialists say, as new analysis exhibits an growing proportion of poor health outcomes for moms and their youngsters are linked to extreme weight throughout pregnancy.

Key factors

Key factors

  • The variety of obese and overweight pregnant women has elevated in the final 25 years
  • The proportion of poor health outcomes for mums and infants linked to maternal obesity is on the rise
  • Experts are calling for obesity prevention methods to goal women earlier than they fall pregnant

Researchers on the University of Sydney examined greater than 40,000 pregnant women over a 25-year interval and discovered the prevalence of obese and overweight first-time moms had elevated and the variety of women inside a traditional physique mass index (BMI) vary had fallen.

At the identical time, the proportion of poor health outcomes attributable to extreme weight throughout pregnancy had steadily elevated.

“This includes maternal complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and caesarean birth, as well as complications for the baby, including being large for gestational age,” stated senior writer Kirsten Black.

Associate Professor Black stated earlier efforts to scale back the dangers of maternal obesity in pregnant women had failed, and that obesity prevention methods wanted to goal women prior to getting pregnant.

“The sentiment from nutritionists and obstetricians is that the greatest impact on adverse outcomes will occur if women lose weight before they get pregnant,” she stated.

Dropping one weight class would enhance health outcomes

Researchers analysed the BMIs, demographic traits and health outcomes across the time of start of 42,582 first-time moms at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital between 1990 and 2014.

“We were interested in looking at how the trends had changed over time in obesity, and to what extent that was impacting on a range of adverse health outcomes,” Associate Professor Black stated.

They discovered the variety of women who have been obese elevated from 12.7 to 16.four per cent; the prevalence of obesity rose from four.eight to 7.three per cent, whereas the proportion of women in a traditional BMI vary fell from 73.5 to 68.2 per cent.

“As a consequence of that, we saw a rise in a whole range of adverse outcomes such as caesarean sections, prematurity, gestational diabetes, stillbirths, foetal abnormality, pre-eclampsia and foetal macrosomia [larger than average baby],” Associate Professor Black stated.

A considerable variety of these outcomes might have been prevented with obesity prevention methods that scale back pre-pregnancy weight, she stated.

“Were overweight and obese women to have moved down one BMI category during 2010 to 2014, 19 per cent of pre-eclampsia, 15.9 per cent of foetal macrosomia, 14.2 per cent of gestational diabetes, and 8.5 per cent of caesarean deliveries … could have been averted,” the authors wrote.

Pre-conception health is vital

Once women are already pregnant it might be too late to scale back the dangers of maternal obesity, Associate Professor Black stated.

“There have been a number of studies that have tried to alter the impact of obesity on adverse outcomes in women who are already pregnant, so instituting things like exercise and dietary changes,” she stated.

“But the results have been disappointing in all those trials… so it’s important women optimise their health before pregnancy.”

In addition to inhabitants-extensive methods to scale back obesity, the gynaecologist stated health professionals wanted to get higher at having “healthy conversations” with individuals about their weight.

“There are a range of conditions for which women should be advised on around pregnancy … so we need to also ensure that there is greater access to pre-conception care.”

The study was published today in the Medical Journal of Australia.


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