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How can obesity affect pregnancy?

A woman who is obese (a body mass index of 30 or higher) before pregnancy is at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy. Obesity in the woman also increases the risk of several serious birth defects for the baby. If you are overweight or obese, talk with your doctor about ways to reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant.

If you're obese during pregnancy you have a greater risk of having a stillborn, premature or overly large baby, or a baby with neural tube defects. Your baby also has a higher risk of being obese in childhood. Thus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that obese women planning to conceive get a preconception consultation, weight-loss counseling and continuing nutritional counseling and exercise programs after delivery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.