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Obesity During Pregnancy
Maternal Obesity Leads to Health Risks for Mother and Child
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Obesity During Pregnancy Up

Weight Loss Study Summary
Pregnant women who are obese, defined as a weight of more than 200 pounds, have an elevated risk of health problems both to themselves and their babies. And, the incidence of obesity among pregnant women in the United States is increasing, according to a recent weight loss study.

Weight Loss Study Method
The weight loss study followed 31,000 women in the Cleveland area who gave birth between 1986 and 1997 and more than 15,000 who gave birth between 1997 and 2001. The mothers' weight on the day of birth was recorded and pregnancy-related health problems were noted both before and after delivery. Of the women in the study, 17 percent were characterized as moderately obese (201 to 250 pounds), four percent were severely obese (251 to 300 pounds), and slightly over one percent were extremely obese (over 300 pounds).

Weight Loss Study Results
Findings indicated that obesity rates had significantly increased over the study duration. After 1997, obesity during pregnancy increased 42 percent among African American women, 29 percent among white women and 26 percent among Hispanic women. Conversely, Asian women were almost 40 percent less likely to be obese.

Weight Loss Study - Health Risks & Obesity
One such risk found among moderately obese women was an increased risk for preeclampsia, a high-blood pressure condition that can cause extreme swelling in the mother's face and hands. An increased risk of having to deliver by cesarean section, delivering an abnormally large child, carrying their child for longer than usual, and diabetes were also noted in the study among obese pregnant women.

Weight Loss Study Conclusion
The rise in maternal obesity, which reflects the rise in U.S. obesity levels overall, is a significant public health concern because of the many associated risks it poses. Even mild forms of obesity pose a risk, researchers say. One way to avoid these risks is by controlling weight while not pregnant. While it is commonly taught that weight-loss during pregnancy is bad for the fetus, researchers now believe that starting a weight-loss program during pregnancy may be beneficial.

Source: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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