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Pregnancy & Obesity

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to eat enough to give your developing baby the vital nutrients they need to grow strong. Most doctors encourage women to gain a little weight during their pregnancy, but what should you do if you’re already obese?

When a woman is obese, there is a greater risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Their babies also have a higher risk of premature birth and certain birth defects. In the past, doctors didn’t want to promote weight loss during pregnancy for obese women because they were afraid it would hurt the baby. However, research now shows that obese women can safely exercise and diet to lose weight without any negative impact on their baby’s well-being.

An obese woman can still have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Obesity increases your risk of complications during pregnancy. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of the following:

  • miscarriage
  • gestational diabetes
  • high blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • blood clots
  • heavier bleeding than normal after the birth


Obesity might also increase the risk of issues for your baby.

Problems for your baby may include:

  • being born early (before 37 weeks)
  • higher birth weight
  • more body fat at birth
  • stillbirth
  • birth defects like spina bifida
  • increased risk of having a chronic condition like heart disease or diabetes later in life

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