Plus Size Pregnancy Info
Just like normal weight women, plus-sized gals get pregnant too. However, being obese while pregnant makes things quite a bit more complicated for mother, baby, and the doctor, who is faced with making decisions about natural delivery as against cesarean delivery, for instance. As with everything else, it's good to take a hard look at the issues before you decide to take on the risks of a plus-sized pregnancy.
Obese And Pregnant
For example, if you thought your obesity placed you in a minority position, think again. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 3 out of every 10 women have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. The BMI measures your weight against your height and is the main tool doctors use to discover a patient's obesity. As it turns out, women are entering pregnancy in numbers which are parallel to the national statistics on obesity.
While plus-sized women have many resources available to them for keying into the emotional and aesthetic issues surrounding plus-sized pregnancy, not many of them take a realistic look at the medical effects of their obesity on their pregnant status. Dr. Laura Riley, medical director of labor and delivery at the Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital, has this to say, "You can be shapely and healthy, but it is not possible to be obese and healthy. We are talking about a medical disorder that has major implications for 1) your pregnancy, 2) your fetus, and 3) your life."
The risks are nothing to sniff at, if you consider an article published on the topic by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The esteemed body states that obese women are at high risk for miscarriage, gestational diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia. These complications mean that many obese women will require a cesarean delivery.
First of all, gestational diabetes means the baby is going to be a big one. Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at New York City's St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center says, "There is definitely an epidemic of babies getting bigger, and bigger babies mean more c-sections. It carries down."
Preeclampsia and hypertension also bring with them the almost certain necessity of delivery by c-section. When maternal blood pressure rises during pregnancy, this increases the chance the mom may have a stroke, robbing the baby of his blood supply. A doctor, faced with this scenario, really has no choice but to perform a cesarean.
This isn't the end of the concerns, since the cesarean surgery is not so simple to perform on obese women. The extra fat under the woman's skin makes it hard for the anesthetist to get the placement of the spinal anesthesia just right. Then again, it's a difficult task to locate a vein for the placement of an intravenous line, says Dr. Naomi Torgerson, assistant chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Richmond, California's Kaiser Permanente. In addition to these concerns, moving an obese patient can become a serious issue in the event of an emergency.
But an obese mom-to-be isn't the only one who is at risk in a plus-sized pregnancy. The baby is also at risk for many serious complications including a higher rate of neural tube defects, higher than average rates of childhood obesity, and even stillbirth. Dr. Moritz believes that an obese woman can be both overweight and malnourished if she's eating too much junk food. Poor maternal nutrition can result in neural tube defects.