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Health Risks of Obesity in Pregnancy

Over 95 million American adults are overweight or obese. This includesmore than one-third of women of childbearing age. In view of the fact that obesity increases the health risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, what are the risks of being overweight and pregnant?




WEIGHT LOSS Effect of Obesity on Mother's Health

An article in the American Journal of Public Health (Mar. 2001) studied the effect of maternal pre-pregnancy obesity or overweight on pregnancy health complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes in nulliparous women (women bearing their first child).

WEIGHT LOSS Study Method

The study looked at 96,801 women who gave birth between 1992 and 1996. Data was obtained from Washington State birth certificates, listing maternal pre-pregnancy weight, pregnancy complications, obstetric procedures and the condition of the newborn, and the mothers' Washington State drivers license records, listing height. Women were categorized as lean (Body Mass Index less than 20), normal (Body Mass Index 20.0 to 24.9), overweight (Body Mass Index 25.0 to 29.9) or obese (Body Mass Index greater than 30).

WEIGHT LOSS Obesity Has Strong Detrimental Health Effect

Using death certificates to determine infant death rates, researchers evaluated the association between prepregnancy Body Mass Index and pregnancy complications. Results confirmed those of previous studies, and indicate that obesity has a strong detrimental effect on the health of both mothers and their offspring during and after pregnancy.

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