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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Plus Sizes And How it Affects Pregnancy

By Owen Jones

The vast majority of big or plus size women will experience a perfectly normal pregnancy, but because there is an elevated risk factor, they will notice that the medical staff will fuss around them a great deal more and they may have to go in for tests more often than a woman whose weight is normal for her size. This is logical

The fact is that a woman who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25 has a higher chance of having complications like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, which is a condition of elevated blood pressure during pregnancy affecting the mother and the baby. It is uncertain why these conditions are more common in overweight women but it is something that doctors take very seriously.

It should be stressed again that babies from overweight mothers do not usually suffer any ill effects, but there are certain higher risks. Another of these is that it is known that babies from overweight mothers also run a higher risk of having more neural tube defects which have to do with the development of the baby's brain and spinal cord.

One suspected cause for this problem is that overweight women are known to have poorer levels of folate in their blood and folate is crucial in the early stages of pregnancy in order to avoid neural deficiencies.

In fact, folate is frequently administered to pregnant women in regulated doses. Folate is the naturally occurring kind of folic acid or vitamin B9. Some women start taking folic acid when they start trying to conceive just to be on the safe side.

Each mother runs the risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but the chances in women of standard weight (BMI 19-24) run a 2% risk; overweight women, BMI 24-30, run a 6% chance and obese women, BMI 30+ run a 9% chance.

This does not mean that obese women cannot have a normal child after a normal pregnancy and a standard childbirth. It is just being given as an explanation for why a larger woman might require more tests and monitoring than a smaller one.

About 10% of all women develop gestational hypertension and this is something that can be treated quite routinely. Those with gestational hypertension will experience a rise in blood pressure in or around their 20th week to 140/90 or more. This can be a trigger for pre-eclampsia which involves the same high blood pressure but with protein in the urine.

This is a great deal more dangerous and necessitates medical assistance. Age seems to be more of a factor here than weight - under 35's are less prone than over 35 year olds.

Although the risks of certain conditions are elevated for overweight women, they tend to suffer more than others at childbirth. Labour can be longer and the chances of a Caesarean section are significantly higher. However, if you are significantly overweight and you work closely with your doctor, you probably will not experience any exceptional difficulties.

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