What is Obesity in Pregnancy?

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Being overweight or obese means having an abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that increases the risk of complications for both mother and baby during pregnancy.

A simple way to measure obesity is the body mass index (BMI), calculated by dividing a person's weight (in kg) by the square of the height (in metres): units kg/m2. A person with a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered to be overweight while one with a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is considered obese.

It is estimated that over 40% of pregnant women are overweight or obese. The prevalence has increased in the last 20 years. The main trigger is the availability of low-priced, high-calorie foods with little or no nutritional value.

Risk of complications for pregnant woman

Excess body fat increases the risk of complications during pregnancy. It increases the probability of having diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy, preeclampsia, thromboembolic events, anaesthetic complications and requiring an intervention during childbirth (increased instrumental delivery and caesarean section). It also increases maternal mortality and worsens the prognosis of the pregnant woman in the long term.

Risk of foetal and perinatal complications

Excess maternal body fat increases the risk of structural abnormalities in the newborn (e.g., cardiac and central nervous system abnormalities) and their lack of detection (up to 25% of abnormalities are not detected by ultrasound in pregnant women with obesity).

Similarly, it increases the risk of premature births, macrosomia (high birth weight), neonatal death and the probability of the child developing obesity and metabolic diseases during infancy.

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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