For the first time, it has been confirmed that the American obesity epidemic is affecting American women during their pregnancies. A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2014 more than 50% of women weighed too much directly before becoming pregnant. Overweight or obese women becoming pregnant is a concern because being overweight or obese comes with increased risk of conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which during pregnancy can lead to increased risk of early delivery or the need for a cesarean section. These can lead to complications for both mother and infant. Based on this report, medical advisers recommend that women become as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant, including attempting to reach a healthy weight and get high blood pressure or diabetes under control if necessary.
- 1Women under 20, Asian-American women, women with a college degree, women pregnant for the first time and women who paid for their own delivery were the least likely to be overweight before pregnancy, the researchers said
- 2Two major complications of being overweight or obese before and during pregnancy are high blood pressure and diabetes for the woman, Dolan said
- 3Dolan advises all women to see a doctor before getting pregnant to help “become as healthy as you can prior to pregnancy. A lot of being healthy before pregnancy is prevention, and a healthy weight is part of prevention,” she said.
The report, released Aug. 5, found that in 2014 nearly 4 percent of women were underweight before becoming pregnant. About 46 percent of women started their pregnancies at a normal weight. But slightly more than one-quarter were overweight, and almost another quarter were obese, the report found.
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