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An expert sheds light on pregnancy complication due to high BMI

Published on:29 April 2021, 13:57pm IST
A high BMI can lead to issues with your pregnancy and if you’re overweight or obese, it is best to have a word with your doctor about weight management.
Dr Karishma Dafle
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A doctor writes on the complications that arise during pregnancy due to high BMI. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

If you’re planning to start a family, make sure you calculate your BMI. You may wonder why it is important to do so. Well, you will be shocked to know that being overweight or obese during pregnancy can be dangerous for the mother and baby.  

You must talk to your doctor about how much weight you need to gain during pregnancy. In addition, don’t try to reduce weight while you’re still pregnant. Speak with your doctor because they’re best equipped to help you in weight management during this crucial time.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Making this calculation will help you figure out if you are in a healthy range. The ideal BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 will indicate that you are overweight and a BMI above 30 is indicative of obesity. Having a high BMI can give you a tough time during pregnancy.

Complications in pregnancy owing to high BMI

 A high BMI during pregnancy will affect the health of both the mother and the baby.

Complications include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and signs of damage to other organs like the liver or kidney. There are high chances of miscarriage, stillbirth and recurrent miscarriages.

You need to very cautious during pregnancy to avoid miscarriage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

 Cardiac dysfunction, sleep apnoea (where breathing stops while sleeping), emergency C-section and the risk of complications post-C-section (such as wound infection) rises when the BMI is high. 

The baby might develop problems such as birth defects, increased weight, impaired growth, childhood obesity and childhood asthma.

What to keep in mind

 Obese pregnant women need to check their pre-pregnancy weight and BMI. For them, weight gain during pregnancy can turn out to be a problem. These women will be recommended to gain a particular amount of weight which ensures they stay healthy. The recommended weight gain for a patient whose BMI is 30 or above is only about 5 to 9 kilograms. A pregnant woman whose BMI is too high should get in touch with a good dietician in order to stay healthy while also ensuring the developmental requirements of the baby are met through a nutritious diet.

Specialized care is given to an obese pregnant woman whose BMI is above 30. They will be closely monitored to stay alert about the development of complications. They will be tested for gestational diabetes mellitus and foetal ultrasound will be done at 18 to 20 weeks to evaluate the baby’s anatomy.

Avoid eating junk, oily, and fried foods. Bid adieu to sodas, biscuits, desserts, and sweets that are laden with sugar and calories. Practice mindful eating and take all your calcium, folic acid, protein, and iron supplements on time, as recommended by the doctor.

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Avoid eating for two and stick to a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, grains, seeds, and beans. Do not try crash diets during pregnancy to grill that excess fat. Cut down on alcohol and smoking. Exercise on a daily basis and opt for light activities like walking or aerobics.

If you’re overweight and planning to conceive, make sure you speak with your doctor at the earliest!

Dr Karishma Dafle Dr Karishma Dafle

Dr Karishma Dafle is a fertility consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Pune.