plus sized and baby

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr TAN Shu Qi Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Being plus-sized and pregnant might come with a few issues that can affect not just yourself, but also your baby's health. It's important to ensure that you keep to a healthy weight-gain plan, which your doctor can help you arrange.

A BMI of over 25 is considered overweight, while over 30 is considered obese. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height squared (in metres). As an example, if you weigh 70kg and are 1.5m tall, your BMI would be 70 divided by 2.25 (which is 1.5 multiplied by 1.5). That would make your BMI 31, putting you in the obese range.

Many overweight women go on to have uncomplicated pregnancies and healthy babies. However, it's always a good idea to have some information at hand to be prepared. Remember, if you have any concerns at all, speak to your doctor for specialist advice.

Some of the issues that may affect your baby if you're overweight while pregnant, include:

Big Babies

big babies

A bigger baby may complicate normal vaginal birth, and cause more complex vaginal tears during delivery that might extend to the anal canal. This may be associated with diabetes in pregnancy, and increases your risk for an instrumental delivery or Caesarean section.

Related: How Being Plus-Sized Affects Your Pregnancy

Birth Defects

birth defects

There's a higher incidence of heart defects and neural tube defects in babies born to obese women. Your doctor might recommend a detailed ultrasound during your second trimester to get a clearer picture of your baby's heart and to rule out any congenital heart problems.

Related: Myths About Pregnancy

Diabetes and Obesity

diabetes and obesity

Babies born to obese women are more likely to themselves develop diabetes and obesity.

Related: 4 Ways To Manage Your Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Ways to Manage This

ways to manage plus sized pregnancies

It's important to discuss your plans for pregnancy with your doctor prior to getting pregnant. This gives your doctor a window of opportunity to optimise your health. It's never too late to start a healthier lifestyle. This includes eating well and keeping to the recommended calorie intake of 1,800kcal for the first trimester, 2,140kcal for the second trimester and 2,250kcal for the third trimester. You can also start gentle exercises, for example, with a 15-min walk, before slowly building up intensity as you get stronger. Remember to consult your doctor before beginning any dietary or exercise programmes.

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore