Smoking and drinking don’t mix with pregnancy, and nor do excess weight before and during pregnancy.
Physicians need to be aggressively counselling women about the importance of starting pregnancy at a healthy weight, according to Temple University obstetrician-gynecologist, Vani Dandolu, MD.
In a recent analysis, Dandolu and colleagues found that obesity, increasingly common in pregnant women, raises the risks to mother and baby. Overweight and obese pregnant women are at higher risk of C-section and less likely to breastfeed, while their children are at higher risk of high birth weight and childhood obesity. Specifically, over half of the overweight and obese women gained excessive weight during pregnancy. Furthermore, over half of the obese women had a C-section, almost twice the rates of women who were normal BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy.