Hard Topics: How Your Weight Affects the Chance of Premature Birth

How Your Weight Affects the Chance of Premature BirthAll of us know the risks of being overweight and obese due to the massive media attention these issues have received the past few decades. What’s not always clear is the impact of obesity and premature birth.

While it’s tough topic to broach with your doctor (or you as the patient!), knowing the risks could potentially save your child’s life and/or prolong your pregnancy to a point of very little to no intervention time for your baby.

This new study that analyzed data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register found that being obese or very overweight significantly increased the risk of preterm birth in singleton births. The higher the BMI, the greater chance of preterm labor.

“If only these patients would understand the complications of being obese in association with being pregnant, it might motivate them to change their ways. Obesity has replaced smoking as the No. 1 complication associated with pregnancy.” Eugene Scioscia, MD, of West Penn Allegheny Health System in Pittsburgh.

For women with a normal BMI range of 18-25, the risk of extreme preterm labor (22-27 weeks) was around .17%. For women with a BMI of >40 the risk of extreme preterm labor jumped to 52%. That is a huge difference.

Other risks of obesity during pregnancy include:

  • hypertension
  • gestational diabetes
  • macrosomia
  • large babies
  • blood clots
  • higher chance of c-section

While it’s never a good idea to diet while pregnant, there are ways to help keep these risks down preferably before but even during a pregnancy where the mother holds more weight than she should. Talking with your doctor or midwife to come up with a realistic, healthy plan for you and your baby helps tremendously.

Each day/week/month that passes increases the chance of your baby being born with less complications and a higher chance of survival. As a woman who has struggled with her weight, I understand in my own way the fear and uncomfortable nature of bringing up such a hard topic with a doctor, no matter how much you trust them. On top of that, you have hormones raging and the fear of something going wrong already. Know that the sooner you get clear, accurate information on your body and pregnancy, the greater the chances are you can make a difference in the outcome.

This post is not to be substituted for talking to your doctor about your health and pregnancy. 


Photo Credit: istockphotos

Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and a baby boy on the way on the aptly named Hormonal ImbalancesSmaller glimpses into her day are on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.



Article Posted 3 years Ago

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