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Obesity during pregnancy is a topic that not many people want to discuss, but by not discussing it, it makes the problem worse. In 1980, 7% of women who showed up for their first prenatal appointment weighed over 200 pounds. In 2014, 34% of women who showed up to their first prenatal appointment qualified as obese - that means that they had a BMI of 30 or greater. Back then, the incidence was less than 1 in 10, and now it’s 1 in 3. And because of this we’re seeing a lot more high-risk pregnancies because being obese during pregnancy increases the chance of the woman and her baby having complications. And really, it affects everything across the spectrum, so from having infertility issues to miscarriage and stillbirth. It increases the chances for certain types of congenital anomalies, like heart defects, spina bifida, cleft lip and cleft palate. It also puts the woman at greater risk for developing preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, which are serious conditions a woman can develop during pregnancy. One of the reasons for this is that the baby may end up being large for gestational age or bigger than they should be for that gestational age. And women who have c-sections that are overweight are more likely to develop infections afterwards and blood clots. Other things that are important to note is that it increases the woman’s chances of having postpartum depression and it increases the baby’s chances of being obese during childhood and in their adult years. So of course there’s a plethora of reasons to start out pregnancy at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight. One of the best things you can do if you’re thinking about getting pregnant is to make a preconception appointment with your doctor. At that point they can go over any medical problems that you might have that need to be addressed or managed before conceiving so that that you and your baby have the best chance at having the healthiest pregnancy possible. If you are overweight, then they can counsel you about what a good healthy weight goal is and what you can do to achieve that goal. And it’s important to remember that they’re on the same side as you. They are part of your support team. They’re not there to point fingers of scorn at you and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about talking about this with them because it’s your health and also the health of future babies. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to get off the baby weight that you had from a previous pregnancy before getting pregnant again to make sure that you’re starting out each pregnancy at a good, healthy weight. Some women are unable to lose the weight before they get pregnant again, and 2, 3, 4 kids later they find themselves overweight because they were never able to get down in between children. Now of course the solution is much easier said than done. Losing weight is what you can do to reduce those risks. But it’s not always easy to do. So again, counsel with your doctor and they can help you set realistic goals and help you understand how you can achieve them. If you have any other questions in the future for me, feel free to ask them on our Facebook page at facebook.com/IntermountainMoms and recommend us to your friends and family too.