Risks during pregnancy for adipose women

Durin pregnancy, adipose women face stronger medical risks than normalweight women.

During an average pregnancy women gain between 12 and 14 kilos of which up to 6 kilos consist of additional body fat. But what happens when the mother to be already carries around way too many kilos? Overweight women are confronted with some increased health risks. Those dangers are especially apparent with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more.

Prof. Mathias Fasshauer, endocrinologist and adiposity-expert at the IFB AdiposityDiseases describes it like this: "There is a risk that those women develop diabetes during pregnancy, so-called gestatational diabetes. It occurs three times more often with adipose pregnant women than with normalweights. The reason for that is that the insulin sensitivity of adipose women was already limited before the pregnancy and a continuing worsening of the glucosis metabolism during pregnancy can no longer be compensated by an increased insulin production." There are between five and ten percent of expecting mothers suffering from this form of diabetes in Europe.

Another risk for adipose pregnant women is an increased blood pressure with increased protein excretion in the urine, the so-called preeclampsia. This risk is even higher if there is already a gestatational diabetes. "The cause for the increased blood pressure might lie in a disordered nlood flow in the placenta and a dysfunctional regulation of proteins from the fat tissue," says Fasshauer. Together with his team of researchers he investigates at the IFB in how far dysfuctions of the fat tissue in women who suffered gestatational diabetes and preeclampsia contributes to a pregnancy disorder and later benefit the development of metabolism and vascular disorders. Also adipose pregnant women more often give birth prematurely and miscarry about twice as frequently as normalweight pregnant women.

"The development of the child might also be impaired," explains obstetrician andgynecologist Prof. Holger Stepan of the University Hospital Leipzig, "especially if a gestatational diabetes remains undedetected and thus untreated it poses a problem for the child. The fetal macrosomia with an increased weight of the baby is typical. This later leads to an increased susceptibility for adiposity and diabetes in the child. Due to the increased birth weight there are more complications during birth and more c-sections."

Gynecologists advise adipose pregnant women to have very regular comtrols especially of their blood pressure, the blood sugar level and the fetal development. The weight progression has to be monitored very closely. On the other hand the woman shouldn't do any radical diets during pregnancy but take care of an especially healthy and balanced nutrition with lots of vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamins, micronutrients, protein and complex carbs. It would be ideal to reduce overweight before getting pregnant. It is important to check the thyroid gland since a hypofunction is not only bad for the mother's metabolism but also for the child's development. Exercise is especially important for overweight pregnant women. Swimming and walking are suitable.

Doris Gabel

Keywords: kids & family, causes of obesity