Posts Tagged ‘overweight’

New research on weight and pregnancy

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

scaleBeing overweight during pregnancy can cause complications for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have pregnancy problems such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, c-section and even a miscarriage or stillbirth. If you’re overweight or obese during pregnancy your baby is more likely to be born prematurely, have a birth defect, or have heart disease, diabetes or obesity later in life.

More and more research is being done on how your weight can affect your pregnancy. In a recent study, researchers looked at information on more than one million children born to Swedish women who were followed for nearly eight years. They found that the overall risk of cerebral palsy (a birth defect) was nearly double in babies born to women with severe obesity. CP is a group of conditions that affects the parts of the brain that control muscles and movement.

The study authors say that obesity does not cause CP, but that there is an association between obesity in pregnancy and cerebral palsy risk. Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy and maintaining healthy habits throughout your pregnancy can help reduce this risk.

“There continues to be evidence of many different repercussions and outcomes associated with being overweight or obese,” said Dr. Siobhan Dolan, medical advisor at the March of Dimes. “All the data is pointing to the same issue — that it’s good to get to a healthy weight before pregnancy and to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy,” she said.

What can you do?

If you are currently pregnant, now is not the time to lose weight. But there are things you can do to be as healthy as possible.

Here are some tips:

  • Get early and regular prenatal care. Go to every checkup, even if you are feeling fine.
  • Have a chat with your health care provider about gaining weight during your pregnancy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different – that’s why it’s important to talk to your provider about how much weight gain is right for you.
  • Eat healthy foods and do something active every day. Even getting up from your desk every hour at work and walking around the office can be helpful.

Have questions? Email or text us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org

Diabetes and premature birth: know the facts

Monday, November 10th, 2014

speak to your health care providerDid you know that having diabetes during pregnancy is a risk factor for preterm labor and premature birth? Diabetes is a serious health concern, especially when left untreated or undiagnosed. November is prematurity awareness month and we want to make sure you’re aware of the risks diabetes can have on your pregnancy.

About 9 out of 100 women in the U.S. have diabetes – a condition in which your body has too much sugar (called glucose) in the blood. You can develop diabetes at any time in your life.

Some women also develop diabetes during pregnancy, which is called gestational diabetes. Four out of every 100 pregnant women (4 percent) develop this type of diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after you give birth. But if you have it in one pregnancy, you’re more likely to have it in your next pregnancy. You’re also more likely to develop diabetes later in life.

Having diabetes or gestational diabetes can cause you to go into preterm labor, before 37 weeks gestation. Babies born this early can face serious health problems including long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities.

How can you find out if you have diabetes?

If you are not pregnant yet, speak with your health care provider about your concerns. He will ask you about your family health history, and evaluate your present health. He can give you a glucose tolerance test and measure your blood glucose levels to see if you have diabetes.

If you are pregnant already, you may get a glucose tolerance test at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, or earlier if your provider thinks you’re likely to develop gestational diabetes. You may have heard of other pregnant women having to drink an 8oz cup of a thick syrupy drink – this is part of the glucose tolerance test, along with measuring your blood glucose levels.

Who is at risk for developing gestational diabetes?

You may be more likely than other women to develop gestational diabetes if:

• You’re 30 years old or older.
• You’re overweight or you gained a lot of weight during pregnancy.
• You have a family history of diabetes. This means that one or more of your family members has diabetes.
• You’re African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Pacific Islander. These ethnic groups are more likely to have gestational diabetes than other groups.
• You had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
• In your last pregnancy, you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 1/2 pounds or was stillborn.

What else can you do?

It’s important for you to take care of yourself, but especially if you have diabetes or a risk factor for gestational diabetes. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your health care provider about taking a glucose tolerance test. Getting diabetes under control could help prevent preterm labor and premature birth. Being active, eating healthy foods that are low in sugar and losing weight may help reduce your chances of developing diabetes later in life.

Learn more about managing pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes.  And, as always, visit your health care provider before and during pregnancy.

 

Are you watching your soda intake?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

drinking sodaThere has been an interesting debate in the media lately about New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to regulate the size of sugary soft drinks.  He says he is doing it for health reasons. Well, he is right that there is an enormous (all puns intended) portion of the population that is overweight in this country, and that’s a concern for everyone.

Obesity leads to significant health problems. Being overweight or obese during pregnancy can cause complications for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the greater the chances for pregnancy complications. You can read about many of the problems (infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes…) here.

It’s important to get to a healthy weight before you conceive. This way you’re giving your baby the healthiest possible start. Before you have a baby, take the time to get fit, exercise and eat healthy.  Cutting out the empty calories that do you no good is a good idea. It will be interesting to watch what happens in New York. What do you think?

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.

Overweight pregnancy can have long-term health consequences for children

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Too much weight before and during pregnancy can have serious health consequences not only for the mother, but for her child’s health for many years, new research shows.

“While it’s pretty well-known a healthy weight is crucial to a healthy and long life, new research is showing that if a woman is overweight while pregnant, her baby is more likely to be overweight,” says Alan R. Fleischman, MD, March of Dimes medical director. Health risks continue into childhood, with a higher risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

We realize that weight is a sensitive subject for many women and that some health care professionals are uncomfortable discussing it. But weight is a risk factor that can be changed, greatly improving outcomes. It’s very important to talk about this and get essential changes started. If a woman begins her 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. You can read a lot more about it at this link.

The March of Dimes recommends that women who are planning a pregnancy should get a preconception health check-up. During the visit, your health care provider can identify and treat health conditions that can pose a risk in pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or certain infections.  Your provider can offer information on weight as well as nutrition, smoking, drinking alcohol and occupational exposures that can pose pregnancy risks. If weight might be an issue for you, don’t put off talking to your doc about about it. It will be good for both you and your baby.

Wait… check your weight!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

on-the-scalesWe have posted before on the importance of getting your weight under control before you get pregnant.  It helps you and your baby in so many ways.  And it’s also important to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy.

I just came across a great podcast from the National Academies of Science called Weight Gain During Pregnancy: How Much Is Too Much? It’s really very good and worth listening to if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.  Check it out.

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.

Cutting back on added sugars

Monday, August 31st, 2009

sugarIn the last few months, I’ve been trying to be more physically active and make healthier food choices. It hasn’t been easy, especially with all the weekend barbeques and summertime desserts (ice cream… yum). My goal isn’t so much to lose weight, but to live a healthier lifestyle so I can lower my chances of developing serious health conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease later in life.

Your body needs nutrients to give you the energy you need throughout the day. Most of these nutrients and calories come from the healthy foods you eat. Out of your daily calorie allowance, you also have a certain amount of “discretionary calories” or extra calories that you can use any way you want – maybe an afternoon snack or a small dessert after dinner (Learn more about discretionary calories). However, it turns out that many of us eat too many discretionary calories, and most of these come from drinks with added sugars (colas and other soft drink beverages).

The American Heart Association (AHA) made a new recommendation about the amount of added sugars we eat during the day. The organization recommends that most women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugar. To give you a better idea, one can of regular cola has about 130 calories of added sugar, which is 30 calories more than recommended.

Instead of cola, why not try some sparkling water with a slice of lemon? That way, you can use your discretionary calories on something yummy.

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.