Pregnancy Risks For Overweight Women

By | 04/12/2015

Pregnancy Risks For Overweight Women

Today I want to get serious and tell you about the pregnancy risks for overweight women.  This can be a  serious problem for both mother and baby and it is one I felt I should address here.

If you are planning to try for a baby then it is important to read this all the way to the end so you understand the need to have your weight under control before you try to fall pregnant with your first or any subsequent pregnancies.

The subject of Pregnancy risks for overweight women was featured on  the news and I decided to do some research and get a bit more information on the subject.

BMI and what does it mean?

BMI as I a sure you are all aware is body mass index and this is often used to determine if a person is overweight.  It is worked out by dividing your height in meters by your weight in kilograms.  Here is a chart so that when you have calculated your BMI you will know what it means

BMI                         Weight StatusBad Habits Hurt Babies

below 18.5              Underweight

18.5-24.9                 Normal

25-29.9                    Overweight

30 or higher            Obese

40 or higher             Extreme Obesity

First and foremost being obese may prevent you falling pregnant because it interferes with normal ovulation.  Even IVF is affected and the higher your BMI the less likely IVF will succeed.

What can happen if I do get pregnant?

Being overweight carries with it a whole host of problems and risks during pregnancy.

It has been found that pregnant women who are obese are more likely to suffer urinary tract infections.  It also increases the risk of infection after the baby is born regardless of whether you have delivered vaginally or by Cesarean Section

There is also a risk of developing gestational diabetes.  This is more prevalent in overweight women than  it is in women who are within the  normal weight range.

Preeclampsia is also more likely to occur when the mother is obese.  It is a complication that leads to high blood pressure and lead to damage to the kidneys and other organs.

Obesity can cause pregnancy to continue long past the due date.  This makes it more likely that labor will have to be induced.  Another labor problem you may face is the reduction in the effectiveness of pain medication.

Sadly, obesity can also lead to miscarriage.

Could being overweight affect my baby?

Overweight women are more likely to have a much bigger baby (Macrosomia) and they have more bady fat than is normal.  It is thought that higher birth weight does increase the likelihood of childhood obesity.

Your weight might increase the risk of your child developing diabetes of heart disease as an adult.

Research has shown that obesity could lead to birth defects in your baby.

During pregnancy how much weight gain should I have?

ThiHealthy Mum Healthy Babys is something you need to talk to your doctor about.  How much you gain is determined by your pre-pregnancy weight and some other factors and it is best to be guided by your doctor.

There are some guidelines  but it is much better to work it out with your health care professional.

In Summary

If you are overweight the best case scenario would be to lose the weight before becoming pregnant.  This is not to say go on some fad crash diet that usually does more harm than good.   It means to adopt a sensible portion controlled diet and exercise regularly.  Talk to your doctor and ask about consulting a  dietitian.

The best thing you can do to ensure the health of both you and your  baby is to be as close to normal weight as you can get and be as fit as you can.   If you smoke do your best to stop and also eliminate alcohol.  Of course any illicit drugs should not be used at all.

I hope this has helped you and I would love to hear your story.  Just drop me a note below.  Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and an awesome outcome.


 pregnant and obese

10 thoughts on “Pregnancy Risks For Overweight Women

  1. RuthM

    This is a very interesting article. I have a friend who has been trying for a baby for 3 years now, and she is overweight for sure. She has tried losing weight and now they are going for fertility treatment.

    I always suspected her weight might have something to do with the inability to get pregnant. I wonder if she would find it rude if I sent this on to her?

    1. Margaret Post author

      Hi Ruth,

      I appreciate your comment. Obesity is a growing problem these days and a lot of people just don’t see themselves as overweight. Unfortunately it is very hard to tell someone they are overweight. I’m not sure if your friend would take it as helpful or rude. sorry I can’t help you with that one.

      Thanks again


  2. Daniella

    Hi Margaret,
    What a nice and helpful article, I really enjoyed reading it!
    I have two beautiful children and when I got pregnant I gain so many weights on. I thought I could eat whatever I like to, but I was wrong, it was very dangerous. I took a big risk! Also, I was suffering from cholesterol at that time and the doctor told me that I am unconscious of what I am doing. Meaning, eating junk food:)
    If I have to do it again, I would certainly eat only healthy food.
    Thank you for this helpful article

    1. Margaret Post author

      Hi Danielle,

      When it comes to pregnancy it is not good to be overweight. I do hope you can lose it for next time around. With high Cholesterol you really are putting your health at risk even if you are not pregnant.

      Thank you for sharing with me and I hope you can shed the weight and keep well.


  3. Stephanie

    This was an interesting article. I never had this problem personally because I was only fairly thin when I became pregnant, but I am definitely going to share this article with women whom I know can benefit from this information. I am just worried if they think I will be unkind if I send it to them. Often times people do not know just how overweight they are or they are in complete denial.

    Do you have any advice on how to delicately share this with others so they do not take offense to it? Because I truly want what is best for her and her family.

    1. Margaret Post author

      Hi Stephanie
      I really appreciate your taking the time to leave me a comment.
      Telling someone they are overweight is really difficult. Most people are not even aware they are. They look in the mirror and it lies to them. It is the same with anorexia, they see themselves as fat.
      If your friend is actually aware she is overweight and is saying things like ‘I will have to go on a diet’ or ‘I have put on so much weight’ maybe they would be receptive to a gentle, ‘Do you think it might be affecting you getting pregnant’ and then start talking about the article
      It would be really nice if you could tell her this tactfully and still have her friendship afterwards but it is a difficult problem.
      Best of luck on this one.

  4. SJB

    I really wish that this website excited when I was pregnant. Now that my children are all grown, I had to learn the hard way. I really love your tips and the idea of your website is awesome! I have a friend who is pregnant and who has a young child to care for at home. This is definitely going to help her. Thank you so much!

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      Thanks, it is lovely to hear from you and get your comment. You are right there was nothing around when my children were young either and it would have helped a lot if there had been. I did buy a book written by a child psychologist that helped me a bit with dealing with their behavior but what is available now is far superior. I hope my site does help your friend and lots of other new mums out there.

      Best wishes to you.


  5. Maria

    Excellent article – I really worried about my BMI when I got pregnant because I had read these similar things and didn’t want my baby to suffer in any way or have any serious complications. But these are very real concerns and any women should be aware and know the risks involved so thank you

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      Hi Maria,
      Thanks for leaving your comment. Every mum wants her baby to be healthy and we all take whatever steps we have to when we are pregnant to ensure we give our child the best start in life. It is becoming more and more apparent that the mother needs to be in good physical condition to ensure this happens. In the past no one told as this and I do wish they had.
      I hope you and your baby are both happy and healthy.


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