Obesity and Pregnancy

The Risks

Obesity among pregnant women poses a measurable and real risk to:

  • the pregnancy
  • the unborn baby and
  • the newborn baby of an obese mother.

Obese mothers are more likely to have stillborn babies, require forceps or other ‘aided’ deliveries and caesarian sections.

It has been determined (1) that the risks of problems affecting obese mothers-to-be with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 include:newborn

  • Miscarriage
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Blood Clots
  • Urinary infections
  • Post-Caesarian wound infections
  • Post delivery haemorrhage
  • Breastfeeding problems
  • Abnormally overweight babies

A recent study (2) has shown that infant death risks more than doubled where the mother’s BMI was greater than 35


There can be no doubt that the risks of serious problems increases in proportion to the measure of obesity in the mother. The literature clearly suggests that these risks start once the BMI is 30 or above and become really serious at a BMI of 35 and over.

It is essential to make every effort to stabilise body weight and BMI before becoming pregnant.


1.   NHS – UK; NHS Choices
2.   Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden