Shock obe­sity lev­els of preg­nant women

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ATHIRD of preg­nant women lo­cally were over­weight or obese at their first ap­point­ment with a mid­wife - with ex­perts warn­ing that obese par­ents are more likely to raise obese chil­dren.

In 2017, 32% of women at­tend­ing their first an­te­na­tal ap­point­ment with a mid­wife at South­port and Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal NHS Trust were above their rec­om­mended weight, anal­y­sis of ma­ter­nity ser­vice sta­tis­tics pub­lished by NHS Digital shows.

In all, the data showed that 1,020 women were con­sid­ered over­weight or obese out of the 3,220 at an­te­na­tal ap­point­ments last year.

Al­though high, it was still the low­est rate in Mersey­side, as more than half of the women at their first ap­point­ment at St He­lens and Knowsley Hos­pi­tal Ser­vices NHS Trust and Liver­pool Women’s NHS Foun­da­tion Trust were above their rec­om­mended weight - which is one of the high­est pro­por­tions in Eng­land.

A South­port Slim­ming World con­sul­tant, Dee Wright, said: “I was mor­bidly obese car­ry­ing my daugh­ter, Au­tumn, and was un­der the di­eti­cian and was bor­der­line ges­ta­tional di­a­betes... once I had her, the weight piled on and I walked into Slim­ming World when she was two.”

She added: “We sup­port lots of women try­ing to con­ceive, preg­nant women car­ry­ing a baby and breast­feed­ing women to lose weight.”

A per­son is con­sid­ered over­weight when their body mass in­dex (BMI) - a mea­sure of body fat based on weight in re­la­tion to height - is be­tween 25 and 29.9 and obese when it is 30 or higher.

Na­tion­ally, 38% of women were above their rec­om­mended weight in 2017.

There were 140,236 over­weight and 108,547 obese moth­ers-tobe recorded at an­te­na­tal ap­point­ments.

Ayela Spiro, nu­tri­tion sci­ence man­ager at Bri­tish Nu­tri­tion Foun­da­tion said: “In­creas­ing ev­i­dence sug­gests an im­por­tant role for ma­ter­nal obe­sity in the devel­op­ment of child­hood obe­sity and sub­se­quent adult dis­ease.

“Off­spring of obese women are more likely to be­come obese as chil­dren or adults. Child­hood obe­sity tracks into adult­hood, with in­creased risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and Type 2 di­a­betes.

“Af­ter preg­nancy, moth­ers can con­tinue to in­flu­ence their in­fant’s weight sta­tus.

“Breast­feed­ing is as­so­ci­ated with a re­duced risk of child­hood obe­sity but ma­ter­nal obe­sity has been recog­nised as a risk fac­tor for de­creased ini­ti­a­tion and du­ra­tion of breast­feed­ing.

“It is well recog­nised that chil­dren who are obese are more likely to have obese par­ents.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween ma­ter­nal and child obe­sity stems from a num­ber of fac­tors in­clud­ing the in utero en­vi­ron­ment (the en­vi­ron­ment ex­pe­ri­enced by the foetus), but also post­na­tally from shared di­etary, phys­i­cal and be­havioural char­ac­ter­is­tics.”

Ms Spiro added that obe­sity can also put the mother’s health in dan­ger.

She said: “Most women who are very over­weight have a suc­cess­ful preg­nancy, but stud­ies show that ma­ter­nal obe­sity in­creases the risk of com­pli­ca­tions for preg­nant women and their ba­bies, and the higher the BMI, the higher the risks.

“Ma­ter­nal obe­sity is as­so­ci­ated with an in­creased risk of ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, pre-eclamp­sia, mis­car­riage, and of com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing labour and birth.

“Ba­bies born to women who are obese are at in­creased risk of con­gen­i­tal ab­nor­mal­i­ties (birth de­fects) and of still­birth.”

One in three preg­nant women in the South­port area is over­weight or obese, a study has found

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