In the UK, almost one in every two women of child bearing age is obese or overweight and additionally about 20% of pregnant women have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more when they become pregnant. I imagine it is similar to most developed countries round the world as the problem for us now seems to be too much food and too little quality in our diets.
Now, there is no reason to get scared if you are already pregnant and overweight or obese as the chances are your pregnancy will go all the way to completion with no concerns whatsoever. I am living testament to that! However, the higher your BMI is over 25, the higher chance you have of having a miscarriage, or even developing other adverse conditions such as gestational diabetes, thrombosis and pre-eclampsia (a serious condition that is diagnosed if the mother has high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine.)
Your baby is also at risk of heart or spine defects. Again, no fear as the chances are you will be okay if you are pregnant already but if you are not then it may be wise to try to get your body in peak performance or at least to a BMI of 24…
Some of the other risks associated with obesity in pregnancy include a higher incidence of early labour, a need to induce your baby, caesarean sections and shoulder dystocia (this is where the baby’s head comes out but then the shoulders get stuck on their way out of the canal. Eek!)
Another less thought-of possibility(or risk, depending on whether you would like to or not) is that there is a tendency for ladies not to breastfeed if overweight or obese. As breastfeeding does help you lose extra weight after the birth (not a lot, I don’t think – or maybe I just ate far too much!), you are even less likely to lose weight after the birth which could mean that any subsequent pregnancies you have start at a much higher weight, enhancing all the above stated pregnancy obese risks.