There has been a vast amount of research done over the last few years to study the effects that a mother’s weight before conception has on both the pregnancy and the newborn. A recent study conducted by Dr. Zuschman, an Australian OB-GYN, focused on women that had a body index mass, or BMI, greater than 30kg/m2.
Dr. Zuschman’s study found that women in the target category had a caesarean rate of over 50%, and many of these babies were born before 38 weeks gestation. A higher than average rate of miscarriage, birth defects and stillbirths was noted. The mothers were found to be 2.6 times more likely to develop severe hypertensive disease than a woman with the ideal BMI. Babies born to mothers with a high BMI tend to be much larger than average, and these facts combined were the leading reasons for doctors choosing to perform a caesarian section at or before 38 weeks.
This research suggests that focusing on obtaining a healthy BMI prior to conception is the best way to avoid these life-threatening complications. Having a high BMI does not suggest that a woman should take extreme measures to be thin, but rather focus on healthy nutrition and activity levels to obtain the target BMI. A woman that is already pregnant should never diet unless under the supervision of her doctor, but focusing on a healthy diet and maintaining moderate activity levels is usually best. – Jill, Staff Writer
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