Pregnancy is a beautiful time for the mother-to-be and the family. Let this joyous time not be shadowed by any risk that the baby might face. Be aware of the risks that maternal obesity might have on the new-born. If you are only planning to start a family, we suggest it would be safer to be pregnant after bariatric surgery than it is to be pregnant while being overweight
Maternal obesity can increase the risk of diseases and complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. “It does not mean that overweight or obese women may not give birth to healthy children. We are only saying that women of childbearing age should be aware of the increased risk associated with excess body weight and how it affects the health of the infant,” said Dr. Nandakishore Dukkipati, who is also executive Council Member – OSSI (Obesity And Metabolic Surgery Society of India).
A recent study conducted on a Swedish population showed that 995 of 1,000 infants survive their first year with severely obese mothers, compared to 998 of 1,000 Swedish infants with non-overweight mothers. While the difference may not be significant, mothers with obesity-induced co-morbidities could increase infant mortality rates.
These findings have far-reaching implications, considering current rates of obesity in India. Another study by SNDT University in Juhu reported similar findings in Mumbai. “After looking at 1,800 children and their mothers, we found that the household family income and overweight mothers were most definitely associated with higher infant mortality and increased obesity in those children who survive,” said Dr. Nandakishore Dukkipati.
Statistically speaking, infant mortality is higher for mothers who are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9) or mildly obese (BMI between 30 and 34.9) were at a 25 to 37 percent, the researchers found.
In most of these pregnancy cases, prematurity is the number one cause of infant mortality.
All is not lost, yet. Most of the time becoming pregnant often motivates women to make healthy changes if they can learn effective strategies with their care provider. Women who are already overweight and pregnant can reduce their own babies’ risks through various healthy behaviors. “Try to get good prenatal care thereby reducing the risk of premature delivery, ” added Dr. Dukkipati from LivLife Hospitals.
Obesity happens over a long time and losing some weight is better than losing none, Dr. Dukkipati reminds us.