Dr. Lam discusses how obesity can affect pregnancy and childbirth.
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The Effect of Obesity on Pregnancy and Childbirth Obesity actually is one of the most common problems affecting our female population today and obesity has actually become an epidemiologic crisis whereby the most recent statistics from our government organization show that fully over 50% of our population is considered overweight or obese right now with some states having a doubling in the amount of people who are obese in their population. Obesity affects pregnancy in profound ways. It not only increases the risk for underlying diseases such as preeclampsia and diabetes, but it can even lead to issues such as, perhaps even increasing the risk for fetal defects such as spina bifida and also producing problems with fetal growth and thereby affecting the prospects for normal delivery. Obese women are, for example, more likely to fail vaginal delivery and need c-sections and are more likely to incur complications from their c-section such as blood loss, infection and a wound breaking down or reopening. Obesity within pregnancy itself can impinge upon the ability to help a woman or adequately diagnose problems of the fetus. For example, a woman who is bigger, we have a harder time visualizing fetus with ultrasound. Because of that, we often times can have difficulty adequately dating the pregnancy and thereby establishing how far along the pregnancy truly is. These babies also do have a tendency to have issues with growth and for example, can end up being bigger than normal and thereby causing problems at delivery as well.