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Your Weight, Gynecology & Pregnancy

From the Show: HER
Summary: How could obesity affect pregnancy?
Air Date: 8/28/17
Duration: 30:55
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Kecia Gaither, MD
Dr. Kecia GaitherDr. Kecia Gaither is a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine and holds a Masters degree in Public Health.

A perinatal consultant and women’s health expert, Gaither’s expertise is grounded in both research and her professional experience in caring for women with diabetes, HIV and obesity in pregnancy.

With more than 20 years of professional experience, driven by her mission to provide exemplary prenatal care to all women regardless of circumstance, Dr. Gaither positively impacts the lives of thousands of women delivering valuable information on a spectrum of women’s health issues via social media, writing, public appearances, media commentary and teaching.

Your Weight, Gynecology & Pregnancy
One-third of Americans today are classified as obese and another one-third are overweight. Pregnancy brings weight gain, but it can present complications if you start out your pregnancy obese.

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Risks for Mom

First, there is a greater risk for diabetes. Gestational diabetes may go away after the pregnancy, but it could develop into type-2 diabetes.

Second, the pregnancy can increase an obese mother’s chances at developing hypertensive disorders. 

Additionally, larger moms give birth to larger babies. The babies are at risk for birth trauma due to fatty deposits around the shoulders. A C-section can deliver a larger baby, but mom is at greater risk for respiratory issues and blood clot development.

There is a greater chance for overdue deliveries. There’s not an exact determination of why this happens, but there is a correlation between obese mothers and long gestational periods.

Lastly, there is more risk of urinary tract infections during pregnancy.

Risks for Baby

Babies born to obese mothers are more prone to congenital anomaly; specifically neural tube defects. When you’re obese, you metabolize sugar in an abnormal manner. This can cause issues in the development of the brain and spinal cord.

These concerns are not based in body shaming but in optimal health for both mom and baby. Your doctor wants you to have a successful pregnancy and delivery.

Fertility Concerns

Obese women who present as infertile my have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). A sonogram can help with diagnosis.

Best Practices for Pregnancy When Obese

  • Take folic acid to assist in neural tube development.
  • Early screening for gestational diabetes.
  • Get urine screened for UTIs.
  • Talk with your doctor about how you’re eating. Cut out fried foods and fast foods. Eat lots of proteins, fruits and vegetables.
  • Check your vitamin D levels.
  • Have your baby measured regularly during pregnancy.
  • Visit with an anesthesiologist late in your third trimester for exams in case surgery is necessary for delivery.
Listen as Dr. Kecia Gaither joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to share how obesity affects pregnancy.


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