Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Does Being Overweight Affect My Pregnancy?

Being overweight affects many aspects of your life. In addition to issues of social interactions and self-esteem, body weight can greatly affect a person’s health. Being overweight puts you at a greater risk for a number of health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease. Being overweight can have an impact on fertility. Being overweight can also affect your pregnancy.

One of the biggest risks for an overweight woman who is pregnant is the increased risks of complications. Conditions such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are much more common in women who are at least 20% over their healthy body weight. Being overweight puts you at increased risk of having a baby that is larger than normal. Being overweight also puts you at a higher risk of needing to have a cesarean section birth, as opposed to a vaginal birth. Being overweight also affects the amount of weight you will have to lose after pregnancy, as well as the difficulty that is involved in losing weight after pregnancy.

There are also some other affects that being overweight can have on your pregnancy. If you are overweight, it can be more difficult for ultrasounds to look at your baby through the extra body fat. If you need a diagnostic amniocentesis, being overweight can make the procedure more difficult. Being overweight during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for infections, including urinary infections. Finally, being overweight can affect the process of selecting and using anesthesia during labor and delivery.

For a woman who is overweight to start with, most experts recommend that you gain between 15 and 25 pounds during pregnancy. For women who are especially overweight, a healthy weight gain should probably be even less, perhaps in the 10 pound range. Regardless, the larger you are to start with, the less weight you will need to gain. Still, pregnancy is not the time to go on a new diet; you need to be eating a balanced diet, being sure that you and your baby are getting all of the important nutrients that you both need.

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