Are Obesity And Pregnancy Even Compatible?

Have you asked yourself if obesity and pregnancy can go side by side? Well, yes – to the extent that all precautions are taken for the health of the mother and child. That is mostly because for pregnant women who suffer from obesity, pregnancy brings with it additional kilograms, which may lead to more complications and can offer them real headaches.

Obesity And Pregnancy

The accumulation of kilograms while pregnant is a very delicate subject even for women with a normal weight, not to mentioned women who already have issues of this kind. How much should you gain? How should he proceed?

If a normal woman should gain between 10 and 16 kg, obese women should do their best not to increase their weight by more than 10 kg.

If obesity affects the fertility of women and makes it difficult for them to get pregnant over the course of the 9 months, all the risks to which they are subject are twice as dangerous.

Table of Contents

When Are You Considered Obese?

Obesity is defined as an excess of body fat. Usually, to determine if a person is obese, there`s a parameter used – body mass index – which is based on the weight and height of that person.

To find out if she`s in the overweight category, a future mother may determine her body mass index, this official scientific indicator which calculates the ideal weight of a person. If this index is greater than 25, then we can talk about overweight, and if it exceeds 30, we can even talk about obesity.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Weight Status
BMI Underweight
BMI 18.5 – 24.9 Normal Weight
BMI 25 – 29.9 Overweight
BMI >/= 30 Obesity

If a pregnant woman who is obese may have more reasons to be concerned during pregnancy about her health and the health of her baby, the good news coming from experts are encouraging. The extra pounds aren`t necessarily an indication that pregnancy and birth will be troublesome, nor that the baby won`t be perfectly healthy at the end of the 9 months. – Click here!

Risks for the Mother

Obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of certain complications, such as:

  • Gestational diabetes: Obese women have an increased risk of gestational diabetes than women with a normal weight.
  • Preeclampsia: Obesity increases the risk of hypertension after the week 20 of pregnancy as well as the presence of protein in excess in the urine.
  • Infections: The risk of urinary tract infections is increased. Additionally, obesity increases the risk of postpartum infections, whether the baby is born by vaginal birth or C-section.
  • Thrombosis: Women who are obese while pregnant have an increased risk of developing blood clots in the deep veins of the legs, a severe medical condition which might be complicated by lung thromboembolism.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: It`s a medical condition in which during sleep, breathing stops for long periods of time.
  • Prolonged pregnancy: obesity increases the risk for the pregnancy to extend beyond its normal term.
  • Problems during labor: The induction of labor is more frequent in pregnant women who are obese. Obesity may interfere with the use of certain pain control methods, like epidural anesthesia.
  • Caesarean surgery: Obesity increases the risk of elective Caesarean surgery or in an emergency. Also, complications of Caesarean surgery are more common, like infections at the incision or delayed wound healing.
  • Loss of pregnancy: Obesity has an increased risk of abortion or the birth of a dead child.

Risks for the Baby

Obesity while expecting may cause serious issues to the child:

  • Macrosomia: Obese women have a significant risk of having children with more weight than normal women and have a higher body fat than normal. Research has also shown an increased risk of childhood obesity.
  • Chronic conditions: Obesity in pregnancy increases the risk of the baby suffering from heart disease or diabetes as an adult.
  • Congenital defects: There`s a slightly increased risk of neural tube defects or congenital head disease.

Risks for the Birth

Among obese women, the C-section rate is higher than in normal women: 40% normally with 44% for obese women with hypertension, 50% for gestational diabetes and 60% for future mothers suffering from both the above issues.

Also, the intervention is longer, the scar gets infected more often, and the recovery is more difficult.

How Many Kilos Should I Gain during Pregnancy?

Your weight before getting pregnant and the BMI, as well as your health and your baby`s health – they all play a key role in determining how much weight you should gain during pregnancy.

  • Single pregnancy: the recommended weight gain is between 11 and 16 kg.
Weight before Pregnancy Recommended Weight Gain
Underweight (BMI) 13 – 18 kg
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 – 24.9) 11 – 16 kg
Overweight (BMI 25 – 29.9)   7 – 11 kg
Obesity (BMI >/= 30)   5 – 9 kg


  • Twin pregnancy: the recommended weight gain is between 17 – 25 kg.
Weight before Pregnancy Recommended Weight Gain
Underweight (BMI 18.5 – 24.9) 17 – 25 kg
Overweight (BMI 25 – 29.9) 14 – 23 kg
Obesity (BMI >/= 30) 11 – 19 kg


Although in the case of overweight women, some weight gain is recommended during pregnancy, specialists say obese women can gain even less weight than what is said in these guides without any risk to the baby. – Click this page!

Rather than gaining or losing a certain percentage of weight during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend you to concentrate on avoiding gaining weight in excess while pregnant. Keep in mind that if you get even more weight than it`s recommended and you`ll not lose weight after birth, those extra pounds may pose a certain risk to your health.

The Path to a Healthy Lifestyle

To have a healthy pregnancy, the pregnant woman needs to have a healthy nutrition, which shouldn`t lack of adequate hydration and exclude poor quality food, junk-food and excess sweets. – Read more!

It`s recommended to practice constant physical exercises when finding some free time, which are appropriate to pregnancy, and which help to create a habit in this sense and prevent the accumulation of kilograms. – Learn more!

This lifestyle reduces the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or premature birth.

No “Weight Loss” Diets during Pregnancy!

A pregnant woman should never try to follow any losing weight diets or get rid of certain foods that may offer them nutritional values during pregnancy. These diets aren`t recommended during the 9 months of pregnancy, for both obese women as well as those with a normal weight. On the other hand, the gynecologist may recommend to the pregnant woman to go to a nutritionist, who can draw the necessary nutrition coordinates and appropriate lifestyle for the period of pregnancy.

Is Caesarean Birth the Only Option?

Maybe pregnant women who are obese have heard from other mothers or even from medical staff that the only type of birth that can be taken into account is Caesarean birth. Although this is an option if the anamnesis performed by the gynecologist says that, in particular cases, is the safest way to bring your baby into this world, there a large number of obese women who gave birth naturally without any complication. It`s even a recommended option by many doctors, because overweight and obesity increase the risk of infection for any mother that is subject to a C-section, as well as of hemorrhage or blood clots.

Image courtesy of endocrineweb.com

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