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Myths and truths of obesity and pregnancy
Date:12/21/2011

ust like everybody else, women considering pregnancy or currently pregnant should get a healthy mix of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and good quality carbohydrates. Unfortunately, these are not the foods people lean towards when they overeat," noted Thornburg. "Women also need to be sure they are taking vitamins containing folic acid before and during pregnancy."

Obese patients need to gain at least 15 pounds during pregnancy.

Myth

In 2009, the Institute of Medicine revised its recommendations for gestational weight gain for obese women from "at least 15 pounds" to "11-20 pounds." According to past research, obese women with excessive weight gain during pregnancy have a very high risk of complications, including indicated preterm birth, cesarean delivery, failed labor induction, large-for-gestational-age infants and infants with low blood sugar.

If a woman starts her pregnancy overweight or obese, not gaining a lot of weight can actually improve the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy, Thornburg points out. Talking with your doctor about appropriate weight gain for your pregnancy is key, she says.

The risk of spontaneous preterm birth is higher in obese than non-obese women.

Myth

Obese women have a greater likelihood of indicated preterm birth early delivery for a medical reason, such as maternal diabetes or high blood pressure. But, paradoxically, the risk of spontaneous preterm birth when a woman goes into labor for an unknown reason is actually 20 percent lower in obese than non-obese women. There is no established explanation for why this is the case, but Thornburg says current thinking suggests that this is probably related to hormone changes in obese women that may decrease the risk of spontaneous preterm birth.

Respiratory disease in obesity including asthma and obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for non-pulmonary pregnancy complications, such as cesarean delivery
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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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