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

and preeclampsia (high blood pressure).

True

Obese women have increased rates of respiratory complications, and up to 30 percent experience an exacerbation of their asthma during pregnancy, a risk almost one-and-a-half times more than non-obese women. According to Thornburg, respiratory complications represent just one piece of the puzzle that adds to poor health in obesity, which increases the likelihood of problems in pregnancy. She stresses the importance of getting asthma and any other respiratory conditions under control before getting pregnant.

Breastfeeding rates are high among obese women.

Myth

Breastfeeding rates are poor among obese women, with only 80 percent initiating and less than 50 percent continuing beyond six months, even though it is associated with less postpartum weight retention and should be encouraged as it benefits the health of mom and baby.

Thornburg acknowledges that it can be challenging for obese women to breast feed. It often takes longer for their milk to come in and they can have lower production (breast size has nothing to do with the amount of milk produced). Indicated preterm birth can result in prolonged separations of mom and baby as infants are admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU. This, coupled with the higher rate of maternal complications and cesarean delivery up to 50 percent in some studies in obese women, can make it harder to successfully breast feed.

"Because of these challenges, mothers need to be educated, motivated and work with their doctors, nurses and lactation professionals to give breast feeding their best shot. Even if you can only do partial breastfeeding, that is still better than no breastfeeding at all," said Thornburg.


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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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