If you are a This Is Us fan, you know Kate and Toby have struggled with infertility, a high risk pregnancy and baby Jack’s premature birth and resulting complications. While Kate’s weight has been openly cited on the show as a significant challenge, in light of the recent CDC report about increasing rates of maternal deaths in obese females, Dr. Gaston is here to explain exactly how obesity affects the health of mother and child.
Obesity affects the ability to even get pregnant in the first place. Being obese changes hormone levels, which interferes with the ability to conceive. Those hormones cause insulin resistance which not only leads to diabetes, but wreaks havoc on the menstrual cycle and inhibits the body’s ability to produce quality eggs properly. Those changes are linked to the higher rate of miscarriages in overweight and obese women.
It isn’t just a woman’s fertility that is affected by too much weight. When men are overweight or obese, testosterone levels drop, damaging sperm quality and production. Extra weight also causes erectile dysfunction, another barrier to healthy conception.
When an obese woman is fortunate enough to become pregnant, the medical complications do not stop, either to her or the baby. As mentioned, the risk of miscarriage is significantly increased. Other complications include:
- Gestational diabetes, which increases the risk of diabetes developing after delivery
- High blood pressure causing preeclampsia, which can lead to kidney and liver failure
- Development of eclampsia, prompting seizures and leading to stroke
- Cardiac dysfunction
- Sleep apnea, leading to fatigue, preeclampsia, eclampsia and heart and lung damage
Mom’s obesity can also negatively impact Baby’s health. Complications include:
- Heart defects
- Neural tube defects
- Macrosomia, or elevated birth weight with abnormally high body fat, increasing the risk of injury to Baby during delivery and the risk of obesity in childhood and throughout life.
- Preterm birth, with a significantly increased risk of both short-term and long-term health issues, including vision, hearing, brain, lung and heart health.
Delivery is fraught with risk for the overweight or obese mother and baby. Vaginal delivery is extremely difficult and other complications include:
- Labor is longer, making it more likely a C-section will be needed
- Macrosomia also makes a C-section more likely
- Obesity makes it difficult to monitor Baby’s heart rate during delivery
- The higher the mother’s BMI, the more likely Baby will be stillborn
Health complications don’t stop after delivery. Extra weight makes recovering from a C-section more difficult, and increases the risk of infection, bleeding and other complications. The CDC report detailed how pregnant and post-delivery women are at a great risk of cardiovascular events, infections, and hemorrhages for up to a year. For overweight and obese women, those risks skyrocket.
Achieving a healthy weight before you conceive is vital to a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby and a healthy recovery. Contact Dr. Gaston before you plan on getting pregnant.He can help with non-surgical weight loss procedures that are reversible - nothing is left in the body after a healthy weight is achieved. Initial consultations are free, which means there is nothing to lose except the weight! Call 773-238-1126 or reply to this email to schedule today - and get ready to conceive a happy, healthy baby!