Gestational Diabetes
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Whittington Hospital
Courtesy of the brilliant Midwifery team at the Whittington Hospital in London
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Maintaining a healthy weight in pregnancy

Dangers of being overweight during pregnancy

It's important to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy. There are impacts on your baby and birth if you are overweight or obese. 
In Short

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation that works out whether you are a healthy weight for your height. For pregnant women your BMI calculation will be based on your weight before pregnancy. Your BMI can be described as follows:

18.5 or less = underweight;

Between 18.5 and 24.9 = healthy weight;

Between 25 and 29.9 = overweight; and

Over 30 = obese.

The labour and delivery may be more difficult and possibly more risky for a high BMI (over 25) and much more risky if your BMI is over 30.

If your BMI is 30 or above the risks include:

  • high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia;
  • gestational diabetes;
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis – developing a blood clot in your legs or lungs;
  • stillbirth;
  • early miscarriage – the risk rises from one in five to one in four;
  • macrosomia (having a baby who is too big);
  • longer labour, labour being induced, emergency C-section, or having problems after the birth, such as infection or heavy bleeding.

If you are overweight your baby is also more likely to be overweight and develop diabetes in later life. It can also become more difficult to monitor the baby, or to use an epidural. Also – just generally it’s more uncomfortable for you as an expectant Mum if you’re carrying too much weight, and it can put a lot of strain on your back and pelvic girdle. Overall it’s helpful to understand the risks so you can feel encouraged about the importance of getting your weight to a healthy level – ideally before you become pregnant – or during your pregnancy. Your midwifery team will help you – and there will be community or hospital weight clinics you can attend to help you along the way!

Information courtesy of the brilliant Midwifery team at the Whittington Hospital in London.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.