Licensed midwives expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, offers this article on her website:
Maternal Obesity Increases Risks
By now, most of us are aware of the obesity epidemic in America. Obesity among both genders and all age groups is growing. In the early 1960s, 13% of Americans were classified as obese. By 2000, the number had skyrocketed to more than 30%. Today, almost 67 million Americans – or two-thirds of the population – are considered overweight while one in three is obese.
While being significantly overweight or obese presents numerous health risks for all ages, it poses special problems for pregnant women. Being overweight or obese at the time of conception can lead to a high-risk pregnancy for the mother and serious complications – from stillbirth to multiple birth defects – for the baby, according to Dr. Vern Katz, a perinatologist at the Center for Genetics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Women’s Care.
The risk factors of being obese and pregnant, says Dr. Katz, are actually greater than those of smoking while pregnant, conceiving at an advanced age or being underweight. Yet, although half of all women of childbearing age are overweight or obese, the public is still uninformed about the problems the condition can cause to both mothers and their babies.