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Being overweight in pregnancy: risks, diet and exercise

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Professionals have long been researching the relationship between a mother’s weight and pregnancy complications. The results are that there is a connection between different risks and the mother’s overweight, but we still do not know what causes it. Weight is one of the many factors that influence pregnancy and the health of the baby, one more factor such as age, genetics or the number of children you have had.

First of all, it must be emphasized that the vast majority of pregnant women with obesity have completely normal pregnancies and deliveries. Unlike age or genetics, being overweight is something that is in your power to change and that can be controlled. Exercise and diet are key, as well as continuous monitoring by the medical team.

That is why in the following FastlyHealarticle we will talk to you about being overweight in pregnancy: risks, diet and exercise , so that you know the complications that you may face, but also everything that is in your power so that that does not happen. 

Getting pregnant overweight: risks

The overweight in pregnancy has the following risks and consequences :

  • Neural tube defects.
  • Gestational diabetes.
  • Gestational hypertension.
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Very big baby.
  • Complicated delivery.

Next, we are going to explain these possible risks one by one so that you understand the importance of keeping your weight regulated during this important stage of your life:

  • Neural Tube Defects : We refer to potential developmental problems in both the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Although it is not yet known what causes it, it has been shown that babies whose mothers were overweight when they were pregnant have a higher risk of developing problems in the spinal cord and / or brain. Normally, the most advisable thing to avoid is the intake of folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy .
  • Gestational diabetes : a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy due to an increase in blood sugar. The point is that if the mother suffers from gestational diabetes, it is much more likely that the baby will be born too large, with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, or suffer from type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational hypertension : high blood pressure in pregnancy, more common in overweight mothers, can put your health and that of the baby at risk, especially because it increases the risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition that we will explain below.
  • Preeclampsia : which can also be known as toxemia, is a condition typical of pregnancy that causes blood vessels to constrict, something that causes blood flow to decrease and pressure to increase. There are different degrees of pre-eclampsia, and in the most severe it can cause detachment of the placenta, reduction in the amount of amniotic fluid or damage to your organs and those of the baby.
  • A very large baby : it is not normal, in fact statistics say that the vast majority of overweight pregnant women have babies with a weight within normal ranges. However, maternal obesity increases the risk of the baby being very large.
  • A longer labor : studies that have been done in this regard reveal that overweight women have a longer labor, a difference that can reach 105 minutes compared to thin women. Related to the previous point, it should also be noted among the risks of obesity in pregnancy the fact that cesarean section is more common when the mother weighs more than she should.

Diet to lose weight in pregnancy

It is very important that you know that during this stage that you are going through you cannot follow a strict hypocaloric diet and that any action you carry out must be supervised by a doctor. You should not do anything that could be risky for the health of the baby and your own. That is why the diet for overweight pregnant women should revolve around the following points:

  • Eat 5 times a day.
  • Eat smaller portions, but more times.
  • Refrain from junk food, pastries, soft drinks.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables.
  • Cook on the grill, boiled, steam or in the oven.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Exercise daily.

Regarding this last point, in the next section we will explain how exercise should be for pregnant women who are overweight.

The best exercises for overweight pregnant women

Overweight pregnant women should choose:

  • Cardiovascular exercise : improves the cardiac and respiratory system of the mother and baby.
  • Toning exercise : to prevent tissues from weakening.
  • Flexibility exercise : it will prevent and improve labor discomfort.

In addition, you must take into account the following indications when practicing exercise :

  • Exercise should be moderate or gentle.
  • No more than 3 times a week.
  • Do not stand for a long time without moving.
  • Don’t do weight-bearing exercises.
  • Avoid exercises with abdominal trauma, however minimal.
  • Hydrate correctamente.

Taking all this into account, we can summarize that the best exercises for overweight pregnant women are those of low impact, that do not require overexertion and that do not last more than 60 minutes a day. Activities that fit these parameters include moderate-paced walks, aquagym, yoga , tai chi, or Pilates .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Overweight in pregnancy: risks, diet and exercise , we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category .

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