Why Does Being Overweight Make Your Pregnancy High-Risk?

Why Does Being Overweight Make Your Pregnancy High-Risk?

In the United States, over 80% of women have healthy pregnancies and deliveries. But the rate of high-risk pregnancies and complications related to childbirth are on the rise, and over the past six years, these types of pregnancies and deliveries increased by 31%.

While many factors can contribute to the diagnosis of a high-risk pregnancy, one of the biggest reasons these numbers are rising is because of the increase of pregnant women who are overweight or obese. 

If you’re pregnant and overweight, the team at Signature Women’s Healthcare in Lawrenceville and Lithonia, Georgia can help. Our skilled OB/GYN physicians, Jacquline Hayles-Patterson, MD, and Tyndal M. Jones, MD, have years of experience helping women with high-risk pregnancies enjoy healthy pregnancies and babies. 

We also know that understanding your diagnosis and what it means for your pregnancy helps put your mind at ease. We’ve created this post to do just that, so keep reading to learn what you need to know. 

Understanding why weight matters

Doctors use a number called your body mass index (BMI) to evaluate your risk of developing different health issues, including complications related to fertility and pregnancy. When you’re overweight (a BMI >25) or obese (a BMI >30), your body has to work extra hard to carry out even the most basic functions. 

This includes your reproductive system. Overweight and obese women may have difficulty conceiving, and once pregnant, the same strain your body experiences carrying out regular functions affects your health and the health of your baby. 

In fact, being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of pregnancy-related complications, including:

In addition, due to excess abdominal fat, being overweight or obese can make it difficult for your providers to detect issues with your baby during routine ultrasounds and fetal heartbeat checks. 

Understanding a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis

Because of the increased risk of the conditions outlined above, if you’re overweight or obese and become pregnant, your provider at Signature Women’s Healthcare may diagnose you as having a high-risk pregnancy. 

While many women with high-risk pregnancies have healthy babies, it’s important to take the diagnosis seriously and understand what’s involved with this type of pregnancy. Your OB/GYN provider customizes your prenatal care plan, but generally speaking, if you have a high-risk pregnancy you can expect:

Your provider at Signature Women’s Healthcare may also provide you with extra instructions regarding diet, exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors that can affect your baby and your pregnancy. 

Having a healthy pregnancy when overweight or obese

Despite the increased risks to you and your baby, many overweight and obese women safely deliver healthy infants every day. 

To do so, it’s important to pay extra attention to your health and weight during your pregnancy. Eating well, exercising regularly, and receiving regular prenatal care to monitor your baby are essential for overweight and obese mothers-to-be. Some tips include:

Learn more about weight and high-risk pregnancy by contacting the Signature Women’s Healthcare office nearest you. Call us at 678-380-1200 to schedule, or book an appointment online now. 

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