Posts Tagged ‘obese’

Mom’s weight and baby’s health

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Overweight and obesity during pregnancy can cause health problems for your baby. You know that it’s not great for your health, but it can affect your baby’s well being, too. While most babies of overweight and obese women are born healthy, problems can include:
• birth defects, including neural tube defects (NTDs) which are defects of the brain and spine
• preterm birth
• injury, like shoulder dystocia, during birth because the baby is large
• Death after birth
• Being obese during childhood

Dr. Patrick M. Catalano, a highly renowned obstetrician, professor and researcher has focused on nutrition and metabolic conditions before and during pregnancy and how those conditions affect a fetus’ growth and how much body fat it gains. His research has shown that infants born to obese mothers and mothers who have diabetes are heavier at birth and have a higher risk of developing metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

Dr. Kathleen Maher Rasmussen and her students broke new ground in understanding the threat being overweight at conception has on successful breastfeeding.  We know that breast milk is the best food for babies during the first year of life. It helps them grow healthy and strong. Dr. Rasmussen’s work on over-nutrition found that there is delayed onset of milk secretion and shorter breastfeeding in women who were significantly overweight.

If a woman starts pregnancy at a healthy weight, it can not only lower the risk of preterm birth and birth defects, but can give her baby a healthier start that can have life-long benefits.

Lose the weight before pregnancy

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Advertisements abound these days for weight loss programs and quick fix diets. Did you eat all your favorite traditional treats over the holidays and have a cup or two of cheer? I certainly did and am now feeling like it’s time to behave – time to swap the cookies for carrots, the fruitcake for fruit.

For those of you thinking about pregnancy, it’s especially important to get your weight under control before you conceive. To know if you’re overweight or obese, find out your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant.  BMI is a calculation based on your weight and height.

If you’re overweight, your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9 before pregnancy. Two in 3 women (66 percent) of reproductive age (15 to 44 years) in the United States is overweight.  If you’re obese, your BMI is 30.0 or higher before pregnancy. About 1 in 4 women (25 percent) is obese.

If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more likely than pregnant women at a healthy weight to have certain medical problems during pregnancy. The more overweight you are, the higher are the risks for problems. These problems include:
• Infertility (not being able to get pregnant)
• miscarriage (when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• stillbirth (when a baby dies in the womb before birth but after 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• high blood pressure and preeclampsia (a form of high blood pressure that only pregnant women get). It can cause serious problems for mom and baby.
• gestational diabetes
• complications during labor and birth, including having a really big baby (called large-for-gestational-age) or needing a cesarean section (c-section).

Some of these problems, like preeclampsia, can increase your chances of preterm birth, birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. This is too soon and can cause serious health problems for your baby. (We’ll talk about how mom’s weight issues can affect her baby’s health in tomorrow’s post.)

For those women who are severely overweight, some are turning to surgery. New studies suggest that weight-loss surgery may help protect obese women and their babies from gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, overly large babies and cesarean delivery during pregnancy.

So think about staying healthy and shedding those unwanted pounds before you get pregnant. Talk with your health care provider, find a plan that’s good for you and stick to it. You’ll have a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy when the time comes.

Why your weight matters

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

scaleIt’s important to get to a healthy weight before you become pregnant.  If a woman is overweight or obese before pregnancy, she may face special health risks when pregnant (high blood pressure, preeclampsia or eclampsia, diabetes, problems during childbirth). Babies born to overweight or obese mothers may face their own challenges, too (risk of being born prematurely, certain birth defects, needing care in a NICU, possible obesity in childhood). Ask your doc or health provider for help in losing weight and getting to a safe starting point.

If you watch our video, you’ll learn what you can do if you’re an overweight or obese mom to protect your own health and the health of your baby.  “Pregnancy: The Overweight or Obese Woman” is part of the March of Dimes Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby video series.

New guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

pregnant-woman-on-weight-scale-shrunkIf you’re an expecting mommy or a woman trying to get pregnant, listen up. The Institutes of Medicine (IOM) released a report today with new recommendations for how much weight a woman should gain during pregnancy, including how much weight they should gain week by week.

The authors of the report stressed how important it was for women to get to a healthy weight BEFORE getting pregnant. That’s because women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy face greater health risks to herself and her baby during pregnancy. For women who are overweight or obese and already pregnant, the authors recommend that women, working with their health providers, carefully monitor their weight gain so that both mom and baby have a greater chance of staying healthy.

The pregnancy weight gain recommendations are as follows:

BMI* Before Pregnancy

Total Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Weight Gain Week by Week** in 2nd and 3rd Trimester

Underweight (BMI less than 18.5)

28-40 pounds

1 pound

Normal weight (BMI is 18.5-24.9)

25-35 pounds

1 pound

Overweight (BMI is 25.0-29.9)

15-25 pounds

½ pound

Obese (BMI is greater than 30.0)

11-20 pounds

½ pound

Use this calculator to find out your BMI
**  These figures assume a 1st trimester weight gain between 1-4½ pounds

Remember, all women need to make sure they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and get their folic acid, both BEFORE and DURING pregnancy. With your health provider’s OK, most pregnant women should try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.

Check out ChooseMyPlate, an online tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It can help you plan a healthy diet based on your age, weight, height and physical activity. There’s even a special section for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.

For children: Too much media may harm health

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The more time a child spends with television, movies, video games, magazines, music and the Internet, the more likely he is to be obese and to perform poorly in school. And as the child gets older, he’s more likely to smoke and use drugs. This is what experts at the National Institutes of Health, Yale University and California Pacific Medical Center found in a recent review of research.

What does this mean since most of us and our children love media? I had a nutrition professor once he told us “Everything in moderation.” That’s good advice, it seems to me, for many things in life. So be sure you and your kids walk, swim, play ball, socialize, dance, go to the zoo, join clubs, visit with neighbors and friends. The media are great; they enrich our lives. But too much of anything isn’t a good idea.

As one of the researchers said, “Couch potato does, unfortunately, sum it up pretty well.” So let’s get up, get our kids up, and get moving!

How do you manage the media in your children’s lives?


Pregnancy and weight-loss surgery: New research

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Obese women who have weight-loss surgery are more likely to have healthy pregnancies than obese women who don’t have the surgery, according to a new study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Weight-loss surgery is increasing in the United States, but we are still learning about its risks and benefits.

Important: This new study focused on obese women, not overweight women. What’s the difference?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number that can tell you whether you are underweight, at a normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI is based on height and weight.

Here’s an example: A person who is 5’9″ tall and weighs 203 pounds or more is obese. A person who is 5’9″ tall and weighs between 169 and 202 pounds is overweight.

This new study reminds us that mom’s weight matters during pregnancy. The closer you are to a healthy weight, the more likely you are to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Weight-loss surgery isn’t for everyone, but a healthy weight is.

For more information, read the March of Dimes articles Weight Gain During Pregnancy, Pregnancy and the Overweight Woman and Pregnancy After Weight-Loss Surgery.

Or take a look at our new video on healthy eating during pregnancy. Get to know Olga, and tell us what you think.

Pre-pregnancy weight

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I attended an all-day conference yesterday and its focus was on obesity. As you know, obesity is an epidemic in our country. One of the speakers, a physician, said, “if you don’t think obesity is a problem, just got to the beach!” While this comment was meant to make the audience chuckle, this is a serious public health issue that many become seriously ill or die from. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a few people in my own family that struggle with their weight.

The problems associated with being overweight and obese are too numerous to list, but I do want to mention the impact that it has on preconception health. Preconception health has become a popular phrase and according to many experts, is the key to improving pregnancy outcomes. It’s believed that the health of the mom before pregnancy is just as important as her health during pregnancy.

For example, if a woman is obese and trying to become pregnant it may be difficult because it can affect ovulation and her menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, obesity can cause diabetes and high blood pressure. Being overweight or obese can also increase the chance of certain birth defects, delivering prematurely and the likelihood that the baby will be overweight as a child.

For all women preconception health is important and for the overweight woman even more so. No matter how much you weigh, please talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about having a baby.

Low fat milk for some babies

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Low fat milk may be appropriate for some children between 12 months and 2 years of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Examples:

  • * Babies who are overweight or obese
  • * Babies with a family history of obesity, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease

Before giving your child any low fat milk products, talk to your child’s health care provider.

To learn about your family medical history, go to the March of Dimes Web site.

Your child’s healthy heart

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Research has shown that high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity are related to heart disease. Genetics also play a role. To help prevent heart disease, it’s important to identify people at risk as soon as possible.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children should be screened for cholesterol between the ages of 2 and 10 if they:

  • * Have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
  • * Are overweight or obese or have a family history of these conditions
  • * Have a family history of high blood pressure or diabetes

To be screened, a child has a blood test.

A healthy diet and physical activity are especially important for anyone at increased risk of heart disease. If screening shows that your child is at risk, his or her health care provider will help you choose healthy foods and exercise for him.