The unprecedented global increase in obesity among pregnant women is leading to rise in high-risk pregnancies that may affect both mother and child, a study has found.
The findings showed that obesity is associated with reduced fertility, and pregnancies complicated by maternal obesity are associated with adverse outcomes, including increased risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, pre-term birth, instrument-assisted and caesarean section births, infections and post-partum hemorrhage.
The epidemic of obesity is felt in prenatal clinics and delivery rooms around the world with a worrisome trend in high-risk pregnancies that could impact mother and child, said Patrick M. Catalano, Professor at the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, US.
Further, high maternal obesity rate is exposing children to various health issues like congenital anomalies, neonatal adiposity and high risk for childhood obesity.
“The management of obesity in pregnancy begins before, during and after pregnancy,” said Catalano.
However, there are no standard guidelines for the management of obesity in pregnancy, he added.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all pregnant women follow a healthy diet, and consider at least half an hour of moderate physical activity per day during pregnancy.
The clinicians working with overweight or obese women of childbearing age should offer pre-conception weight management to improve metabolic health and fertility and decrease early loss of a pregnancy. There should also be screening for diabetes, the researchers suggested.
Moreover, once pregnant, women should be instructed on how to maintain a healthy gestational weight gain (through healthy eating and exercise), they stated.
For the study, published in journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, Catalano conducted a review papers that focussed on the clinical management of obesity in pregnancy and how to reduce risks to mother and child.