pregnacy, weight and maternal and foetal health

Weight and pregnancy
Pregnancy makes great demand on a woman’s body, though this is accompanied with the joy of the development of a new person.
Apparently half of pregnancies are unplanned.
World wide over 1 billion adults are overweight and 300 million clinically obese. In the USA the prevalence of obese women in the age group 20-39 years has risen from 9 % in 1960-62 to 28% in 1999—2000.
A large Swedish study of more than 200,000 pregnant women studied changes in body mass index from the beginning of the first pregnancy to the second pregnancy and maternal and perinatal outcomes.
Only, modest increases in weight of 1 to 2 units resulted in increased ill health, pre-eclampsia, diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension and large for gestational age babies. . An increase of 3 units and the more dire consequences developed, including still births.
The message is that women who are fertile and wanting babies a body mass index of 30 is an upper limit.
The association between low body mass index and infertility, prematurity and low infant birth weight is well established.
It is important that women are of normal healthy weight before and during their pregnancies.
Walsh and Murphy, Weight and pregnancy; BMJ 2007; vol 335, 169

Martin Eastwood
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