According to new clinical guidance published today by RCOG, women who are obese should be supported to lose weight before conception and between pregnancies to ensure the healthiest possible outcome for both and baby.
Latest UK figures show that around 22% of pregnant women are obese, 28% are overweight and 47% are within a normal range.
Obesity can increase the risk of complications for both mother and baby, including higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and postpartum haemorrhage (the most common cause of maternal death directly related to pregnancy in the UK) for women, and congenital anomalies, pre-term birth and obesity and diabetes in later life for babies. These complications can be minimised with the care and support outlined in the guidance.
Responding to the publication of the newly published RCOG recommendations on obesity management before, during and after pregnancy, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:
Every parent wants to give their baby the best start in life and to do that, maintaining a healthy weight before, during and after pregnancy is important.
Overweight parents are much more likely to have overweight children, and they as a family are more likely to suffer from life changing conditions such as type two diabetes. That’s why it is crucial there are support services available for anyone wanting to manage their weight, especially couples wanting to start or expand their family.
With cuts to public health spending we know that providing these services is becoming increasingly difficult so we hope that the publication of today’s new guidance acts as the catalyst needed to reverse these cuts.