Healthy Pregnancy for Overweight Women

Healthy Pregnancy for Overweight Women

If you are worried about a healthy pregnancy just because you are overweight, then remember, you can manage it following doctor’s instructions. While being overweight is not ideal, either for men or women, you need to handle it with care during pregnancy. From the ease of conceiving a child to labor, it is all a connected circle. Managing your weight is very important.

With the help of a medical practitioner, it can be rather easy. Though following a strict order is essential. That will ensure that you get consistent results. Also, you should not be afraid or stressed by it. Remember, it is not an unmanageable situation. The support of your friends, family and the doctor can improve the situation significantly.

Most importantly, you have to take stock of reality in a constructive way. You have to learn to take care of your body to ensure your child’s good health. You also need to understand how you can go about doing it. That is what will guarantee a complication-free healthy pregnancy.

How Exactly Do You Know That You Are Overweight and What Is the Side Effect?

Before you decide that you need to lose weight, it is important to understand why being overweight can be a problem. This is because just being overweight is not such a major concern. Most overweight women deliver healthy babies. So, most times, it has no impact on the health of the baby at all. However, there are some conditions where being overweight or obese can be a problem in healthy pregnancy.

  • If you are overweight, and the BMI or the Body Mass Index is over 30, it can lead to complications. In case this is beyond this permissible limit, it will result in further health issues, including diabetes.
  • In fact, gestational diabetes is one of the biggest health hazards for overweight women with higher BMI. The elevated glucose level during pregnancy can have a certain impact on the fetus too. Moreover, those with gestational diabetes also run the risk of Type II diabetes later.
  • Higher blood pressure is another common problem in this condition. In this situation, if the blood pressure is not reined in, you may also run the risk of preterm delivery and other related complications.
  • The other key complication arising you should be worried about is pre-eclampsia, in case your BMI exceeds the permissible limit.
  • Blood clots and chances of a miscarriage also rise among would-be moms who have a higher BMI, especially above the key threshold mark of 30.

So more than your weight, you need to keep a tab on your BMI level to ensure healthy pregnancy. However, it goes without saying that BMI increases in sync with your weight.

What exactly Is Body Mass Index or BMI?

The question at this juncture is how you determine this crucial BMI and when you know it is above the certain permissible limit for you. Well, the good news is that you do not have to go through some complex calculations. The average BMI calculator does the needful for you. But don’t self-medicate yourself under any condition. Normally, your doctor will take a call depending on your BMI levels. Broadly, the BMI levels can be divided into three basic sub-parts –

  • If it is less or around the 18 mark, then you are underweight, and your doctor will prescribe the relevant measures to increase it to the optimum level.
  • The normal range is around 18-25. This is what is considered to be a healthy average BMI measure.
  • Most BMI levels above 25 are considered in the overweight category. However, there are degrees of being overweight too. Between 25-30, you are overweight. But, in most cases, this is still a manageable limit. However, if the BMI is above the 30 mark, this is a concern zone, and the doctors will generally prescribe a series of dietary and medicinal routines to bring your BMI and body weight down.

The BMI is often a very good indicator that helps you understand how much weight you need to gain during pregnancy. Often your weight gain is also an indicator of the baby’s growth. So, it becomes extremely important to take a holistic perspective of the overall situation.

How Does Being Overweight Impact Your Pregnancy?

So, it goes with saying that overweight women often have a rough ride through the nine months of pregnancy. While situations and complications might differ from person to person, there are some key factors that you must keep an eye on.

Size and Position of the Baby

One of the biggest problems of being overweight is gauging the child’s size and positioning. This is a major worry, especially if you have a tendency to gain weight in the middle area. In this type of situation, the ultrasound is often the only sure way to ascertain the baby’s growth, size, and position at that juncture. All of these parameters are crucial to ensure the healthy pregnancy.

Not just the weight, even monitoring the heartbeat of the fetus if you are overweight. Often in this type of situation, doctors take refuge in electronic monitoring as conventional methods may not yield appropriate results for you.

However, I feel the most relevant risk for overweight pregnant women is the possibility of having a big baby. Medically termed at, macrosomia, it is almost a double whammy for the mother and the baby alike. It simultaneously increases the risk of complications for both.

There are chances of the baby getting stuck or experiencing shoulder dystocia while being delivered. Though alarming and uncomfortable, don’t worry. This is a condition that medical practitioners can manage well. They can still deliver a healthy baby safely despite this.

Babies Vulnerable to Neural Tube Defect

Though extremely rare, some women who are very overweight, with BMI exceeding 40, are vulnerable to delivering babies with a neural tube defect. Essentially this means that the baby’s spinal cord or brain is affected. But this is only in case of extreme conditions. Regular intake of folic acid through pregnancy cuts out this risk significantly.

Just like your BMI levels, these are the basic indicators that one needs to keep an eye on. If you know of the possibilities, it can help you stay calm and take precautions that can guarantee the baby’s better health. It will also help you to cut out the risk for you. It keeps your weight gain in a manageable zone with the minimum side effect. Most importantly, it will also limit risks of complications like preterm delivery and delivering stillborn baby to a large extent.

Can Being Overweight Also Impact Labor?

Your being overweight does not just impact the pregnancy but also the labor and the subsequent birthing process. The risk of premature labor is significantly higher in the case of overweight women. They also tend to overshoot their due dates in most cases.

Most times, if you are going to labor with a BMI of 30, the chances of a forceps baby are also much higher. You are more prone to develop complications on the administration of epidural and are prone to needing birth aids like ventouse or forceps.

After delivering the baby too, those who are overweight are more vulnerable to certain conditions. These include:

  • Heavy to severe bleeding during and after birth. This condition is termed as PPH or postpartum hemorrhage in very severe conditions. These generally need to be dealt with swiftly to cut down blood loss and your overall well being.
  • You also run a greater risk of contracting the urinary tract infection or the perineum if you are overweight and the BMI is well over the 30 mark.
  • The risk of a deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in the veins of your legs is another major worry for those who are overweight and pregnant.
  • Pulmonary embolism is another dangerous complication that can result from higher BMI in pregnant women. But this is not a common occurrence and is seen only in rare conditions. Normally when BMI is coupled along with certain underlying conditions, this can be a concern.


Though doctors yet to conclude the exact correlation between the weight and the risk to pregnancy, it is critical to watch your weight. Most importantly, it is vital to make sure that your pregnancy proceeds in the normal way. So, we can safely deduce that weight alone does not impact the pregnancy to a large extent. It is when you are overweight along with several other related aspects like lifestyle, underlying health conditions and family history of a certain chronic disease.

The bright side of the story is that most overweight women deliver healthy kids. However, information is always handy. In case you are planning to have a baby, it always pays to be attentive to your general well-being. Instead of strictly concentrating on any specific health condition, target overall wellness. That will help you maintain overall physical and mental health. For a healthy pregnancy and proper post-natal care, this is primary.

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