How Does Obesity Affect Pregnancy?

If you or someone that you know has a raised BMI, this text is for you as we uncover what it is and how it can negatively affect a pregnancy. In some ways, pregnancy can seem like a free ticket to the all you can eat buffet; however, medical opinions of obstetricians in Chatsworth will caution expectant mothers against overindulging.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

What Is BMI?


Your BMI or Body Mass Index refers to the calculation of your weight. This number is divided by your height and multiplied by your height again in a formula that looks like this: weight/height². It is globally agreed upon that an average BMI range is between 18.5 and 25. Then, a BMI that is between 25 and 29 is considered to be within the overweight category. A BMI over 29 is considered as obese.

What Are The Risks?


  • There is a risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy which is double the likelihood of occurring during the average pregnancy.
  • Expectant mothers will have an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
  • An increased risk of the foetus having a neutral tube defect such as spina bifida or alternative developmental defects like cardiac defects, limb defects and a cleft palate.
  • A higher risk of developing urinary tract infections which may lead to preterm labour.
  • During labour: There is a likelihood that labour can take longer, meaning that there is a higher chance of a caesarean section.
  • In the case of a caesarean section: There is a higher risk for anaesthetic complications, blood clots postpartum, infection and excessive blood clots.

Managing This Condition


Your Chatsworth obstetrician will know what is best, but in most cases, the general course of action will include the following. It will be recommended that your BMI be monitored and taken care of prior to or from the beginning of the pregnancy.

  • Stop smoking.
  • The prescribing of at least five mg of folic acid per day in the form of a supplement that is to be taken on the daily from the moment the pregnancy is known but preferably six weeks prior to conception.
  • A referral to a dietician and the establishment of an exercise regime. This should continue throughout the pregnancy with medical instruction.

These are the general prescriptions that you can be prepared for but your obstetricians in Chatsworth will work with you to come up with a unique plan of action. Looking for professional pregnancy treatments in Durban? Don’t hesitate to contact our team of experienced obstetricians today and book an appointment so that we can assess which treatments are best for you.