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Obesity and Maternity Risk

Researchers have been uncovering a correlation between risks to both mother and child among obese patients. In addition to chronic medical conditions, disability, and abnormalities, it was found that obesity can even lead to increased rates of mortality. It was noted that though the incidence of mortality remains low, it is increased in this population and can be significantly detrimental in conjunction with other common risk factors.


Obesity has been found to be a major issue nationally, and is even becoming more common globally. Normal weight females are defined as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) between 18.5-24.9. Currently in the United States over half of all pregnant women are overweight or obese.


A number of conditions become more likely among obese mothers that can affect their health and that of their child. Chronic conditions such as gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational hypertension, and congenital abnormalities become more likely among obese mothers. Additionally, the risk of pre-term birth and birth asphyxia increase among obese mothers.


The study found that:


- The risk of infant mortality among overweight(25-29.9 BMI) and mildly obese(25-37 BMI) mothers increased 25-37 percent over normal weight mothers


- Among mothers in the most obese (>40 BMI) range the risk of infant mortality doubled


Researchers have indicated that though there is a slight increase in risk that there is not necessarily a 1:1 correlation between obesity and infant mortality. However, the data should be used by women who are, or may become, pregnant to be mindful of their health and what that may mean to their unborn child. Mothers are urged to take steps intended to control risk factors and minimize risk to themselves and to their unborn children.

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