Originally Published In
International Journal of Childbirth Education
Research suggests that obese pregnant women are at greater risk for diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and maternal death. Obesity has been shown to increase the risk of fetal death, preterm birth, and congenital abnormalities such as neural tube and cardiovascular defects. These risks are increased with maternal diabetes, thus requiring careful monitoring throughout pregnancy. The relationship between maternal obesity and long-term effects on the child remains conflicted. Some studies have reported that children of obese mothers are more likely to be obese, while others have found only a small relationship. It does appear that extreme maternal obesity (BMI > 40) and metabolic disorders such as diabetes result in long-term effects in the child. Childbirth professionals have the opportunity to intervene through pre-pregnancy planning, and careful monitoring throughout the pregnancy.