According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in adults is becoming more common and expensive to treat. One-third (35.7%) of adults in the United States are obese. Obesity is known for provoking type 2 diabetes, certain strains of cancer, heart disease, and preventable death. Moreover, adult obesity negatively impacts pregnant women and can ultimately result in a premature birth.
Based on an extensive research study conducted at McMaster University, obese and overweight women increase their chances of premature births by 30 percent. Also, their children may suffer long-term health effects from the preterm birth. The study found that premature birth is one of the main causes of neonatal illness and infant mortality. Normally, a pregnancy that is performed at less than 37 weeks of gestation is considered a premature birth. A healthy pregnancy will occur around 39 to 40 weeks. If a pregnant woman’s BMI is particularly high, then the risk for premature birth increases. The influx of premature births in the United States is one of the main causes of infant deaths and long-term disabilities in children. Unfortunately, pre-term births comprise one-quarter of infant deaths!
Baby Center, a resource for pregnant women, provided a helpful list to increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy: Get early prenatal care, watch what you eat, take prenatal vitamins, exercise regularly, get some rest, and saying no to alcohol are six of the twelve steps recommended to secure a healthy pregnancy. The full list can be found here!
In order to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy, the most obvious way to decrease the chances of having a premature birth is to watch what you eat, exercise, drink plenty of fluids (water), and stay away from fatty foods. Your doctor or caregiver will be able to determine whether or not your weight will impact your pregnancy so it is extremely important to regularly attend your doctor’s appointments. Ask questions if you are unsure about your pregnancy!
Even though obesity in adults is extremely prevalent, there are preventative measures one can take in order to live a longer and healthier life! More specifically, if you are an obese or overweight woman expecting a child, please take heed to your doctor’s orders if you want a safe pregnancy!