According to the NHS, being overweight increases the risk of pregnancy complications and can also be harmful for babies. Though it may not sound that serious, the fact is that being obese during pregnancy may cause severe complications like stillbirth, miscarriage, and spina bifida.
The NHS maternity services surveyed around 700,000 women in a report which found that 310,000 were having problems related to excess weight issues at the beginning of their pregnancy and around 20,000 were morbidly obese. In 2016-17, almost 50.4% of expecting mothers were overweight at their first NHS appointment. This was 3.1% more than he previous year. There is a 25% probability of miscarriage in the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy, but it may increase to 25% for women with BMIs over 30. Such women are three times more prone to high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia.
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said, "Every parent wants to give their baby the best start in life, however this raises several red flags for both women's and children's health."
He further added that mothers who are overweight during pregnancy have significant risks. They not only jeopardize their lives, but also endanger their babies lives. "Babies born to overweight parents are much more likely to become overweight children and are more likely to suffer from life-long conditions such as Type 2 diabetes," said Professor Viner. Women needs support not just after conceiving, but prior to conception, throughout pregnancy and even after birth to ensure the healthiest possible outcome for both them and their children.
Professor Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said national initiatives were improving safety for pregnant women and new mothers. However, she also added, "We must not be complacent since this report highlights marked variation in standards of care persist, particularly around birth complications."
Another report examined around 730,000 births in England, Wales, and Scotland and observed higher than average cases of encephalopathy, which is a brain injury that manifests itself in the first three days after a baby's birth, in certain NHS trusts. Further studies are needed to determine the cause. A discrepancy in the number of women hemorrhaging or bleeding during birth has also been found.
The complications of babies born to obese pregnant women can range from short-term to long-term complications. Doctors feel women, particularly those planning to have babies, should take additional health precaustions. A healthy mother is more likely to deliver a healthy baby.