It is quite a common notion that it is okay for pregnant women to eat a lot because they are eating for two. However, a wise woman will watch her weight during pregnancy and not binge. It is not so much to maintain a good figure but more for good health. In Scotland, a large scale study was carried out to discover the implications of pregnant women’s body mass index (BMI) on their health risk. It was found that pregnant women who were either above or below their normal weight faced more complications and stayed in the hospital longer after delivery.
The study analyzed data from nearly 110,000 Scottish women who were pregnant. They were divided into 5 different weight categories. Those who had a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 were normal weight. Underweight women had a BMI less than 18.5. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is deemed to be overweight. BMI reading for the obese category was 30 to 35. Above that were those in the severely obese category.
The severely obese women were 3 times more likely to experience hypertension and gestational diabetes compared to those who were of normal weight.
The following is the increased risk of hospital admission for the respective weight categories (compared to the normal weight category):
- Underweight women – increase by 8%
- Overweight – increase by 16%
- Obese – increase by 45%
- Severely obese – increase by 88%
The results of the study was published online recently in BJOG: An International Journal Of Obstetrics And Gynaecology.
So, pregnant women who want to reduce their risk of complications should keep their BMI within the normal level. It is a healthier choice for mothers and their precious babies. Dr. Fiona Denison of Queen’s Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh, the study co-author also points out that the current maternity services will benefit, in terms of workload and cost, when the number of obese pregnant women is reduced.