Pregnant women weighing as high as 300 kilograms and with heavy body mass index (BMI) who are giving birth in Queensland may risk not only their lives but also their babies.
Based on the findings of a new study the rising obesity rates have been linked to increasing deaths of pregnant women and cases of birth defects.
Associate Prof. Rebecca Kimble said the results of the study conducted by the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital suggested a rising trend of overweight or obese pregnant women. Between 2008 and 2012, one-fourth of pregnant women in the hospital were overweight while the rest were obese.
Kimble, who is also neonatal clinical network and statewide maternity char, added there was little surprise that weight gain among pregnant women have resulted in some risks such as high pre-term delivery rates, hypertension, diabetes and post-operative complications.
Brisbane researchers found that being overweight and pregnant do not only affect women but also their unborn children. Obesity has been found to contribute to the increase of stillbirths, infant deaths and birth defects.
Researchers feared that Queensland may be following the U.S. where pregnancy deaths had more than doubled in number from 1987 to 2009. Obesity can be prevented, but it is still the biggest killer in Queensland.
Queensland will require hospitals to report all pregnancy deaths in January 2014 so researchers can find out more about the link between obesity and pregnancy deaths. Kimble said the surgery risks involved meant obese and pregnant women need to be flown from regional hospitals to Brisbane to give birth safely.
Doctors have also reported seeing babies in distress during labor and rising cases of infant health problems.
Avoiding Too Much Weight Gain
The average Australian adult will be expected to gain 1.1 kilograms over the Christmas holidays, according to the national health statistics. Australians will be 12,895 tons heavier in the New Year based on the total average weight gain.
The last thing Australians, including pregnant women, need is to gain more weight since the country has long been plagued with rising obesity rates not only in adults, but also among children.
With obesity becoming a problem, Australians are encouraged to watch what they eat during the holidays. Overeating during the holidays, especially for people who are having problems with their weight, is not recommended.
To contact the editor, e-mail: