Obesity: A Health Risk for Both Mom and Baby

Obesity during pregnancy causes absolute risk for both the baby and the mom. For having a smooth delivery and a healthy child, you need to know about risk factors as well as the remedies.

Obesity during pregnancy poses a tremendous risk to the health of unborn child. In most of the cases, it is seen that babies of the obese mothers are susceptible to be pre-diabetics or with serious birth defects. It can lead to kidney disease or heart disease, among other problems. According to top birth defects specialists, maternal obesity during pregnancy puts both mom and baby at risk. The fact that obesity in expectant mothers leads to health problems in their unborn children is not in dispute. What is in question, though, is how this should be handled.

To handle this problem, you need to be well aware of the risk factors and how to deal with the problem.

Risk Factors for Mom

  • Generally women with obesity have the maximum risk of infertility and pregnancy-related complications, including hypertension, gestational diabetes, and blood clots.
  • Most of the time, obese women become more likely to require cesarean section than women who aren’t.
  • A study from France found that hospital costs for prenatal care were dramatically higher for overweight and obese women. Costs were fivefold to 16-fold greater than for normal-weight women, depending on how much extra weight the women carried.
  • Many obese women have polycystic ovarian syndrome (a disorder in which the ovaries are enlarged with cysts, with levels of male hormones.) with irregular menses, which can interfere with ovulation.
  • Obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of death in both the baby and the mother and increases the risk of maternal high blood pressure by 10 times.
  • Most of the obese women are prone to suffer from gestational diabetes and problems with labor delivery.

Risks for Baby

If you are obese during your pregnancy, you baby is also at risk for developing some dangerous health issues.

  • Most commonly, for your obesity, your baby puts on too much weight during development. This can make your delivery complicated, making it difficult for your baby to enter and exit the birth canal. Some large babies have their shoulders injured during birth. This is known as shoulder Dystonia.
  • Babies born to obese mothers are also at greater risk of suffering dangerous neural tube defects during development.Women who are obese often produce poor ultrasounds. The ultrasound waves can’t penetrate through the extra layers of fat. As a consequence it produces blurry images. So, neural tube defects aren’t always detected in these babies.
  • Infants born to obese women are more likely to be high birth weight and, therefore, may face a higher rate of Cesarean section delivery and low blood sugar.
  • Studies show that babies who are born to obese mothers are more likely to suffer from obesity by the time they reach the age of four. In one recent study, 29% of children born to obese mothers were also obese by the age of four, compared with only 9% of babies born to mothers of normal weight.


  • If you have a mindset to conceive in the near future, get your weight evaluated by your health care provider. If you are obese, consider losing weight through proper diet and exercise. Even minimal weight loss can help to radically reduce your risk of pregnancy complications.
  • If you suddenly realize that you are obese, you should never try to lose eight during pregnancy. Weight loss or changes in diet can hamper your baby’s consumption of the required calories and nutrients.
  • Proper fitness program should be continued throughout your pregnancy with the guidance of your health care provider. He can advise you about exercise levels that would be appropriate for you. Exercise can really help to reduce your risk of potential health complications.