The vast majority of large or plus size women will undergo a perfectly normal pregnancy, but because there is an increased risk factor, they will notice that the medical staff will fuss around them a lot more and they may have to go in for tests more frequently than a woman whose weight is regular for her size. This is understandable
The fact is that a woman who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25 has a higher chance of developing complications like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, which is a condition of raised blood pressure during pregnancy affecting the mother and the baby. It is unsure why these conditions are more prevalent in overweight women but it is something that doctors take very seriously.
It should be stressed again that babies from overweight mothers do not normally suffer any ill effects, but there are a few higher risks. Another of these is that it is known that babies from overweight mothers also run a higher risk of having more neural tube defects which have to do with the creation of the baby's brain and spinal cord.
One suspected cause for this difficulty is that overweight women are known to have poorer levels of folate in their blood and folate is essential in the early stages of pregnancy in order to avoid neural deficiencies.
In fact, folate is frequently given to pregnant women in regulated doses. Folate is the naturally occurring kind of folic acid or vitamin B9. Some women start taking folic acid as they begin trying to conceive just to be on the safe side.
Each mother runs the chance of getting gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but the likelihood in women of regular weight (BMI 19-24) run a 2% danger; overweight women, BMI 24-30, run a 6% risk and obese women, BMI 30+ run a 9% chance.
This does not mean that obese women cannot have a normal child after a standard pregnancy and a regular childbirth. It is only being given as an explanation for why a larger woman may require more tests and monitoring than a smaller one.
About 10% of all women develop gestational hypertension and this is something that can be treated quite routinely. Those with gestational hypertension will experience a increase in blood pressure in or around their 20th week to 140/90 or more. This can be a trigger for pre-eclampsia which involves the same high blood pressure but with protein in the urine.
This is a great deal more dangerous and necessitates medical assistance. Age seems to be more of a factor here than weight - under 35's are less prone than over 35 year olds.
Although the risks of certain conditions are elevated for overweight women, they tend to suffer more than others at childbirth. Labour can be longer and the chances of a Caesarean section are significantly higher. However, if you are significantly overweight and you co-operate closely with your doctor, you should not experience any exceptional problems.
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