Several studies have been done to understand the effect that being overweight or obese can have on a pregnancy. Overweight and obese women have been found to be at an increased risk of several pregnancy complications, such as diabetes with pregnancy (gestational diabetes mellitus), high blood pressure (hypertension), toxemia of pregnancy or preeclampsia. Overweight women can also be at a greater risk of requiring a cesarean section, with an increased risk of infection or developing a blood clot.
In addition, a baby born to a woman who is overweight or obese can be at increased risk of premature delivery or a difficult delivery, or to develop childhood obesity.
The American College of Obstetricians (ACOG) has changed the guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy and has even stated that maternal weight loss - if there is normal growth of the baby - has not been seen to have a negative effect on the pregnancy, and may in fact reduce some of the risk factors.
Below you will find a table with the recommended weight gain for a BMI range:
|BMI||Weight Status||Weight Gain|
|Below 18.5||Underweight||28-40 lbs|
|30 and higher||Obese||11-20 lbs|
|40 and higher||Extreme obesity|