There has been a significant increase in BMI levels in India over the past few decades. In fact, the obesity levels in India are growing at a faster rate than the global average. This increase in obesity has affected almost all sections of the population, including pregnant women. Around 4.3 million overweight and obese pregnant women are estimated to be present in India, according to a study published on PLOS ONE. This makes India home to the highest number of obese or overweight pregnant women, accounting for 11.1% of the total global cases.
Despite this prevalence, there is still very little awareness about the impact of obesity among pregnant women. So, here are some things the best gynecologists in Bangalore recommend you should know about obesity during pregnancy.
Who is Considered Overweight or Obese?
With a baby growing inside you, increase in weight is only natural. Therefore, being overweight at this time is calculated based on your weight before pregnancy. It is determined using your BMI. BMI or Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by the square of your height in metres. If your pre-pregnancy BMI is between 25 and 29.9, it means you are overweight. If it is 30 or above, it means you are severely overweight or obese. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal.
Impact of Obesity During Pregnancy
Being obese during pregnancy can cause numerous health complications for the mother as well as the baby.
Complications for the Mother
- It can cause gestational diabetes. This is a condition that can increase the risk of having a C-Section, instead of a natural delivery. Women with gestational diabetes also have a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future. Even their children are at risk of developing diabetes in the future.
- Obesity can also increase the chances of preeclampsia. This is a disorder caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy. It is a serious condition, in which the entire body is affected. It can lead to seizures, stroke and even failure of the liver and kidney.
- Another condition associated with obesity is sleep apnea. This condition can cause fatigue during pregnancy. It can also lead to preeclampsia, eclampsia, high blood pressure, and lung and heart disorders.
Complications for the Child
- Children born to obese women are more likely to have birth defects, such as neural tube defects or heart defects.
- Having too much body fat can also interfere with diagnostic tests. They can make it difficult to see the child’s anatomy during ultrasounds, thereby making it hard to identify problems early.
- It also increases the chances of macrosomia. This is a condition in which the baby is bigger than normal. This can make it necessary to perform a cesarian delivery. It also increases the risk of the child being obese later in life.
- A high BMI is also associated with a greater risk of still birth.
- Obesity also increases the risk of preterm birth. Due to the many medical problems associated with obesity, the baby might have to be delivered early.
How to Safely Lose Weight During Pregnancy?
The first thing to do when looking to lose weight would be to consult your doctor. They can help you create a routine and prevent any harmful activities. The best gynecologists in Bangalore also refer certain pregnant women to a trainer and dietician for specialized care, if required.
Walking and swimming are great exercises for weight loss during pregnancy. When exercising during pregnancy, start slow. Just 5 to 10 minutes of exercise would be sufficient in the beginning. You can then build up until you can exercise for 30 to 45 minutes a day.
Try to remove fast food, fried foods, cold drinks, processed foods, and sweets from your diet. Replace them with healthy food items that are good for pregnancy.