Your doctor will recommend that you reach a healthy weight before becoming pregnant, but this does not always happen. If you are morbidly obese and pregnant, there are several concerns that can put you or your unborn baby at risk.
Rapid Weight Gain
Even morbidly obese women are not expected to lose weight when they are pregnant, but they are generally expected to gain only the minimal amount of weight necessary for a healthy pregnancy. You should be mindful of your diet throughout your pregnancy and be on the lookout for rapid weight gain. In some instances, rapid weight gain is a byproduct of eating poorly throughout your pregnancy, since cravings can be even harder to manage if you already struggle with your weight. Rapid weight gain could also be a sign of gestational diabetes. If you already had pre-diabetes or diabetes before becoming pregnant, you are at a significantly higher risk of dealing with gestational diabetes. Unfortunately, blood glucose can be harder to control during pregnancy and can lead to complications like having a baby with an unusually high birth weight.
Unusual Headaches And Swelling
Headaches, often in the first trimester, are associated with morning sickness, but any ongoing issues with headaches should be evaluated. Another concern is swelling, usually in the legs. Depending on your current size, it may not be easy to determine if your legs are swollen. If you cannot visually determine if your legs are swollen, go by how they feel. Typically, swollen legs will feel heavy, or it may be harder to walk. Some degree of swelling in the legs can occur, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. You should mention any of these problems to your obstetrician so they can run tests. They will want regular blood pressure checks and urine tests. Pre-eclampsia is more likely to occur in morbidly obese women, especially those who already have hypertension or a family history of the disease.
Morbid obesity can increase your risk of labor and delivery complications for many reasons. Depending on your size, it may be difficult for the hospital to have the equipment necessary to help you deliver safely. If you carry much of your weight in your abdomen, monitoring the baby during labor could be virtually impossible. In some rural locations, you may need to have a scheduled cesarean at another hospital for the safest outcome.
The heavier you are, the more risks can come from anesthesia, both general and regional anesthetics, such as those used in cesareans. Many women would prefer to have a regional block, which helps reduce pain and can allow them to be awake during the delivery, regardless of whether they are having a natural delivery or cesarean. Unfortunately, a regional block can be difficult to administer in some heavier women, and it may not work correctly.
If you have not reached a healthier weight before becoming pregnant, you must remain vigilant throughout your pregnancy. Having routine visits with your obstetrician will help your doctor identify problems when they are easier to manage. Contact a medical facility like Desert Rose OBGYN PC to learn more.