Obesity In Pregnancy

There is a worrying trend - 15% of us now begin our pregnancies obese, double the number of 20 years ago! This means that we are putting our health and the health of our children at risk. So it's worth making the effort to diet before trying to conceive.  And it's certainly easier than trying to lose weight while we are pregnant! Not to mention that being overweight can make it harder to get pregnant in the first place.

Obesity Epidemic

Doctors are getting more and more concerned about this trend, calling it an 'obesity epidemic'. Not only do we all seem to be getting fatter and fatter, but a lot of us are having bigger and bigger babies as well. Not only does this make it harder to give birth, but it also means we could be predisposing our child to a lifetime of weight problems.


The latest research study from Bristol University, to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (June 2011), shows that women who gain too much weight in their pregnancy are more likely to be obese later in life. In fact, women who were overweight or obese before they got pregnant not only gained more weight than recommended, but were three times more likely to overweight or obese many years later.

Also, according to an American study published in The International Journal of Obesity (June 2009), the more overweight you are before you get pregnant, the more likely your daughter will also be seriously overweight or even obese by the time she gets to be 18!


Another problem with being overweight or obese, is that you are more likely to give birth to a larger baby (over 10lb), which might mean that you have to have a caesarean section. And Brazilian research shows that babies born by a C-section are almost 60% more likely to be obese in adulthood! All the more reason to try to lose weight before you get pregnant!

NHS Drug Trial

However if you haven't been able to lose weight before getting pregnant, a new NHS drug trial is trying to help obese pregnant women to have smaller babies. This study is taking place in Coventry, Edinburgh and Liverpool hospitals testing 400 obese pregnant women with the diabetic medicine, metformin, which is safe to take during pregnancy.

The trial will give women the drug 3 times a day from the 12th week of pregnancy and aims to reduce the food supply to the baby, thus reducing its size. The doctors hope that if the women have smaller babies they won't need to have a C-section and they will be less likely to develop pre-eclampsia. However, this trial is proving quite controversial as many people feel that these women should be encouraged to lose weight instead. These nay sayers feel that addressing obese pregnant women's eating habits and lifestyle choices would be more useful in the long run than giving them pills.

New Recommendations

The latest draft guidelines from NICE say that overweight women shouldn't gain more than 1 stone 11lb, and  obese women should aim for just a 1 stone 5lb weight gain.

And the old idea of 'eating for two' bites the dust with the latest NHS advice saying that even normal weight pregnant women shouldn't change their eating habits for the first six months of pregnancy!

Apparently you just need to eat an extra 200 calories a day - and only when you reach the last trimester!

Login to comment

Post a comment