It would be nice if we all had a delicious healthy weight without having to bother with it. The reality is different and very hard. Many people are overweight in the Netherlands. And being overweight is not just because you 'just eat too much'. There is always a lot more behind it. It is therefore not easy to always ensure that you have a healthy weight when you become pregnant. That's why pregnancy obesity or pregnant with overweight arranged for. Unfortunately, this involves a number of risks for yourself, the baby and your childbirth. You read them here.
When is it overweight and when it is obese?
Obesity is a form of overweight, but being overweight does not automatically mean that you also have obesity. In the Netherlands, the healthcare system calculates your BMI to determine whether you are overweight or not.
The BMI is a measure of your weight in relation to your body height. If your BMI is higher than 25, you are slightly overweight. If you lose a few pounds then you are probably already well again. Below is a BMI table with a small overview:
|BMI lower than 20:||Underweight|
|BMI between 20 - 25:||Normal weight|
|BMI between 25 - 30:||Overweight|
|BMI between 30 - 35:||Obese, light obesity|
|BMI between 35 - 40:||Severe obese, severe obesity|
|BMI between 40 - 50:||Very seriously obese, morbid obesity|
|BMI higher than 50:||Very serious morbid obesity|
Pregnant and overweight, checks and risks
A BMI between 25 and 30 means that you have a few pounds of overweight, but this does not give any extra risks. If your BMI is between 30 and 35, you are seriously overweight. If you are pregnant at that moment, the midwife will check your blood sugar level more often because you have an increased risk of gestational diabetes. The extra checks will probably be around the 24th and 30th week of your pregnancy. Furthermore, the consequences are not very big.
Pregnancy obesity, course and pregnancy checks
In women who have a BMI that is higher than 35, the blood sugar level will be checked more often by the midwife and the growth and the location of your baby will be examined with an ultrasound. Usually this is done by feeling hands, but when you are overweight this is very difficult because of the extra adipose tissue. The extra echoes will be done at 30 weeks and 36 weeks of pregnancy.
At a BMI higher than 35 you can no longer give birth at home and you have to go to the hospital. Women with a BMI over 40 have a very high risk of multiple complications. They will not only have to give birth in the hospital, but will also have to go to the hospital for all checks. The checks are then usually performed by the gynecologist instead of the midwife.
Complications of pregnancy obesity and pregnant with obesity
If you are overweight or have pregnancy obesity, the risk of complications and / or consequences for your baby is greater. The higher your BMI the greater the risks. Below you can read the consequences of obesity for mother, child and childbirth.
Complications for the mother
- Larger chance of gestational diabetes. For women with a BMI higher than 40, the chance of pregnancy sugar is 3 times greater
- Larger chance of pregnancy hypertension. This is a high blood pressure during pregnancy.
- More chance of a miscarriage
- Increased risk of pregnancy poisoning
Complications during childbirth
- It is more difficult or impossible to put a spinal puncture
- It may be that the birth is difficult and difficult to get started
- It is more likely that you have to be helped during delivery, for example by means of a vacuum pump or Caesarean section
- Slightly increased risk of meconium in the amniotic fluid (your baby poops in the amniotic fluid)
- There is a greater chance that you have a big baby. This makes childbirth even more difficult and probably a Caesarean section will be needed.
Consequences for your baby
Unfortunately, your (serious) overweight can also affect your baby. The consequences:
- Infants born to mothers with obesity are more likely to be born prematurely
- Newborn babies of overweight mothers can suffer from heart problems or other health conditions
- The babies are often heavier than average
- Children of overweight mothers later also have a greater tendency to develop overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes. The construction of these can already occur in the womb.
Obesity or overweight and pregnant, what now?
Perhaps you are very shocked by the above information. Remember that the risks are increased, but it is not that you are going to suffer all of this. However, we should not underestimate the consequences of pregnancy and obesity or pregnancy obesity. It is best to limit the excess weight as much as possible before you become pregnant. Probably this will also help to get pregnant at all.
Are you already pregnant and if you are overweight or obese, please do not go on a diet. That is not good for the baby. Talk about it with your obstetrician and your doctor, who will refer you with all your love to a dietitian who can help you further.