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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
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April 20, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts

Obese women run the risk of problems during pregnancy, labor and complications
for the baby's health. A new study of more than 3,000 expectant mothers confirms.

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Obesity/Extreme Slimness Both Risky in Pregnancy

A new study of more than 3000 expectant mothers confirms that being either obese or underweight has specific complications in pregnancy

Obese women run the risk of problems during pregnancy, labour and complications for the baby's health. A new study of more than 3000 expectant mothers confirms this, but also reveals that being underweight also has specific complications.

Researchers at University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, in Granada, have identified the risks in pregnancy related specifically to obesity and have compared them to underweight women to confirm that extreme slimness also carries a risk.

"During pregnancy, obesity is linked to hypertension, gestational diabetes, premature labour, macrosomy of the foetus and unexplained death during labour" Sebastián Manzanares, the first author of the study explains to SINC. "Nonetheless, there is still little data about the link between being underweight and perinatal complications."

The study, which has been published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, includes a sample of 3,016 pregnant women, 168 (5.5%) with extreme slimness, 2,597 (86.1%) with a normal weight and 251 (8.3%) being seriously or morbidly obese.

The results show that obese mothers have a higher risk of developing hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and colonization with group B streptococcus. Also, it is more common to induce labour or undergo a caesarean section, whether elective or emergency in obese mothers. It is also more common for macrosomy (excessive birth weight) or acidosis (too much acid in the body fluids) to occur at birth, or for the fetus to die before it is born.

Furthermore, underweight women are more prone to oligohydramnios (reduced amniotic fluid) and for their newborns to be underweight. The incidence of women going into labour prematurely or late did not differ significantly in relation to the mother's weight.

"Severely or morbidly obese mothers have a higher risk of adverse results and perinatal mortality, and therefore should be advised about weight loss and how to recognise the early warning signs of possible complications" Manzanares highlights. "Nonetheless, this group, as well as underweight women, should be considered "high risk."

The new study shows that newborns of severely or morbidly obese mothers are fatter. Furthermore, the risk of fetal macrosomy is 2.3 times greater in this group in comparison to women with a normal weight.

For the authors "these results justify the need of assessment before pregnancy and it could be a convincing argument for weight modification. The study shows higher risk in cases of severe or morbid obesity as well as in underweight women" Manzanares concludes.

Sebastián Manzanares Galán, Ángel Santalla Hernández, Irene vico Zúñiga, M. Setefilla López Criado, Alicia Pineda Lloréns y José Luis Gallo Vallejo. "Abnormal maternal body mass index and obstetric and neonatal outcome". The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, 1-5, marzo de 2012.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/f-sf-oae041912.php