The Risks Obesity Creates for Pregnancy

As you well know, obesity can cause a number of significant health risks. For the woman who wants to get pregnant, it can create difficulty with conception, but for the woman who is already pregnant obesity poses several specific threats to move her into her baby.

Here are some of the most significant threats obesity creates during pregnancy:





  • Gestational diabetes. One of the most significant risks obesity poses for the pregnant woman is the risk of gestational diabetes. Even if the woman has no history of diabetes, pregnancy can dramatically impact her blood sugar levels.
  • Greater risks of infection. Obesity during pregnancy also increases the risk that you will experience an infection of some sort or another. Urinary tract infections are the most common, but there are also risks of infection during the postpartum period, especially for women who undergo a cesarean section.
  • Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is high blood pressure brought on by pregnancy. Obese women are more likely than other women to experience preeclampsia after their 20th week of pregnancy.
  • Sleep apnea. Obesity is a risk factor for sleep apnea, whether or not you are pregnant. For the pregnant woman, however, the risk of sleep apnea is even more significant.
  • Thrombosis. A condition known as thrombosis is more likely to occur to obese women during pregnancy. This is when a blood clot forms inside of a blood vessel. It’s most common in the legs, and can cause severe pain and even be a risk factor for stroke.
  • Miscarriage. Being obese during pregnancy creates a greater risk of both stillbirth and miscarriage.
  • C-section. If you are obese during your pregnancy, you are more likely to need a cesarean section in order to deliver your baby. You are also at increased risk of having delayed healing after your baby is born.
  • Birth defects. Obesity during pregnancy increases the risk that your baby will be born with certain birth defects. In particular, it raises the risks of heart problems, neural tube defects, and others.

Being obese does not mean that you can’t become a mother. What it does mean is that you need a little bit of extra care from your doctor during pregnancy. If you struggle with obesity, make sure to talk your doctor about the necessary precautions to take during pregnancy.

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