Almost One out of Four Pregnant Ladies is Obese: Maternity Hospital Study


A new study has revealed an alarming trend of increasing obesity rates among pregnant women attending one of Ireland’s major maternity hospitals. According to the research, nearly one in four pregnant women visiting the Coombe Hospital in Dublin between 2013 and 2022 was classified as obese.

The findings, led by public health specialist Dr. Ellen Cosgrave and recently presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, showed that the number of obese mothers – defined as women with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 – rose from 17% in 2013 to 23.1% in 2022, representing a relative increase of 35.9%.

The researchers emphasized that obesity during pregnancy is associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, both short and long-term. While the prevalence of obesity has been reported to be increasing internationally, particularly in high-income countries, the study aimed to quantify recent trends in obesity among pregnant women attending maternity services at the Coombe Hospital, where one in eight babies is delivered nationally.

The study found a higher frequency of obesity among older patients and those who had one or more previous children. Additionally, there were variations among different ethnic groups, with obesity being more common among black women or those from the Middle East, and lowest among women of Asian background.

As a matter of concern, the prevalence of BMI within the optimal range fell from 51.4% to 44% during the study period.

The researchers warned that “escalating levels of obesity during pregnancy are likely to result in increased maternal and infant morbidity and resultant healthcare needs, with consequences for population health.” Furthermore, they highlighted that rising obesity rates will likely lead to an increase in the number of patients screened for and diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus.

Obesity during pregnancy is associated with higher risks of complications, including miscarriage, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, blood clots, and difficulties during labor, such as the baby’s shoulder becoming stuck or the need for instrumental delivery or emergency cesarean section. Women with obesity may also experience heavier bleeding than normal after giving birth.

While the Health Service Executive (HSE) advises against attempting weight loss during pregnancy, it recommends that overweight or obese women consult with their healthcare providers to discuss ways to reduce risks to themselves and their babies, potentially involving referral to a dietitian.

As the study highlights, the increasing prevalence of obesity among pregnant women in Ireland poses significant challenges for maternal and infant health, underscoring the need for proactive measures to address this concerning trend.

Read More: Click Here