Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Heath risks for overweight mums-to-be

Overweight mums-to-be are putting their health and the health of their unborn infant at risk, concludes a study from the University of Teesside. The research, conducted by the University’s School of Health & Social Care, was initiated as a result of anecdotal evidence from midwives and other staff in maternity units in the region who were getting extremely concerned about the apparent increase in the number of women who were obese at the start of their pregnancy.Lead researcher Nicola Heslehurst said: “One of the problems is that sometimes you can’t see the ultrasound scan of the baby properly in obese pregnant women, and this can lead to clinical problems as well as being upsetting for the parents who are not able to see a picture of their baby.”“We’re not trying to blame or stigmatize obese pregnant mothers and we would certainly not recommend that overweight mums-to-be go on crash diets, said Professor Carolyn Summerbell, from the University of Teesside’s Centre for Food, Physical Activity and Obesity Research. “But our initial findings show reasons for concern with obese pregnant mothers, and there is a lack of weight management guidance and support readily available for them.” The research indicated there were other implications for maternity services, including: stronger equipment such as delivery beds to support heavy-weight mums, reduced patient choice and discouraging home births, referring patients to consultants rather than midwifery-led care, ruling out the use of birthing pools or alternative delivery methods, an increase in caesarean sections, lifting and handling issues for staff in the maternity services.Dr Judith Rankin, Associate Director of the Regional Maternity Survey Office, said research already carried out by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health indicates that a third of maternal deaths were in mothers who were obese.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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