Watch your weight when pregnant - for your baby's sake
Pregnant women who are obese are risking their lives. A new, nationwide, investigation has discovered that more than half the women who died while pregnant and giving birth were either overweight or obese….
The confidential inquiry into maternal and child health (CEMACH) reviews maternity care every three years. Its latest report finds that maternal deaths in the UK are at a two-decade high. A total of 205 women died while pregnant or giving birth between 2003 and 2005, more than half were overweight or obese, with over 15 percent extremely obese.
Obese pregnant woman are at greater risk of suffering from miscarriage, blood clots, sepsis, heart disease, diabetes and infections. Their babies are also more likely to be stillborn or premature, while obesity also causes logistical problems. For example, the inquiry reports a caesarean section which had to be performed on two beds pushed together, because the woman’s weight was too large for the operating table. Gwyneth Lewis, director of the inquiry, also said that some women were so overweight, it was impossible to fit the band around their arms to check their blood pressure. She added:
The report clearly show the impact that a mother’s overall health has on the outcome of her pregnancy. Healthy mothers have healthier pregnancies and healthier babies.
Experts agree that obesity has now become one of the main concerns regarding pregnancy, and called for more counselling and advice to be given to pregnant women.
“Obesity is fast emerging as the public health issue of our generation and its impact on maternity must be taken seriously,” said Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “Maternity serves are already struggling to cope with the increasing birth rate. Maternal obesity places more pressure on existing resources.”
The inquiry also found that women in the poorest circumstances were far more likely to die. They were also far less likely to have regular contact with maternity services.
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Find Out More
Look up CEMACH
, the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, for more information on the inquiry.