The pregnancy of the obese woman has to be more controlled because being overweight increases the risk of developing complications in pregnancy, such as hypertension and diabetes in the mother, and also problems with malformations in the baby, such as heart defects.
Although, during pregnancy it is not advisable to make weight loss diets, it is essential to control the quality of food and calorie intake so that the baby has all the nutrients necessary for its development, without the pregnant woman increasing the weight too much.
If a woman is well above her ideal weight, it is important that she slim down before becoming pregnant to achieve an acceptable body mass index and thus reduce the risks associated with being overweight during pregnancy. Nutritional monitoring before and during pregnancy, in these cases, is essential. Losing weight before becoming pregnant will also help a woman to feel the baby when she is pregnant, as excess fat makes it difficult for an obese woman to feel her baby moving.
How many pounds can the already overweight pregnant woman put on during pregnancy?
The weight a woman must put on during pregnancy depends on the weight of the woman before becoming pregnant, which is assessed using the body mass index, which relates weight to height. Thus, if the body mass index before pregnancy was:
- Less than 19.8 (underweight) – weight gain during pregnancy should be between 13 to 18 pounds.
- Between 19.8 and 26.0 (adequate weight) – weight gain during pregnancy should be between 12 to 16 kilos.
- Greater than 26.0 (overweight) – weight gain during pregnancy should be between 6 to 11 kilos.
In some cases, obese women may not gain weight or gain very little during pregnancy because as the baby grows and the pregnancy progresses, the mother may lose weight by eating healthier and, as the weight the baby gains makes up for what the mother loses, the weight on the scale does not change.
Risks of pregnancy in obese women
The risks of pregnancy in obese women involve problems for the health of the baby and the mother.
The obese pregnant woman has a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, eclampsia and gestational diabetes, but the baby can also suffer because of the mother’s excess weight. Abortion and the development of malformations in the baby, such as heart defect or spina bifida, are more common in obese women, in addition to an increased risk of having a premature baby.
Postpartum for obese women is also more complicated, with a higher risk of healing difficulties, so losing weight before becoming pregnant can be an excellent way to have a pregnancy free of complications.
Food for the obese pregnant
The diet of the obese pregnant woman must be balanced and varied, but the quantities must be calculated by the nutritionist so that the pregnant woman has all the nutrients necessary for the baby’s development. In addition, it may be necessary to prescribe supplements according to the pregnant woman’s body weight.
It is essential not to eat fatty foods, such as fried or sausages, sweets and soft drinks.
To learn more about what to eat during pregnancy see: Food during pregnancy .