NICE weight management in pregnancy guidance to help tackle rise in maternal obesity
Rates of obesity in pregnancy are rising across the UK with 1 in every 1,000 women who gives birth now found to have extreme obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 50 or more.
The findings come from the UK Obstetric Surveillance Systems (UKOSS) study, the first study to provide national data on the prevalence of obesity in UK mothers, and highlight the importance of the forthcoming NICE guideline on weight management in pregnancy which will be published in July.
NICE has already issued draft guidance which recommends that health professionals ensure that women who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy and mothers who have had a baby in the last 2 years understand the health risks of being overweight during pregnancy and the importance of achieving a healthy weight prior to pregnancy, and advise them not to try to lose weight while they are pregnant.
The UKOSS study, presented at a management of obesity in pregnancy conference at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London last week, found that women who have extreme obesity are at greater risk of developing a whole host of problems. Mothers with extreme obesity were 11 per cent more likely to develop gestational diabetes and 23 per cent more likely to develop gestational hypertension than mothers of a normal weight.
“Mothers with extreme obesity are also 1.6 times more likely to suffer a preterm delivery,“ said lead researcher Dr Marian Knight, senior clinical research fellow at The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in Oxford.
A separate study, also presented at the conference, highlighted that many maternity trusts across England lack the specialist equipment, such as operating tables in case of an emergency during the delivery, needed to look after obese mothers.
The study, led by Dr Jo Modder, consultant obstetrician at University College London, found that only 31 per cent of the 281 maternity units had the right step-on scales for obese mothers.
Additionally, only 17 per cent of obstetric units said that they provide printed information on obesity in pregnancy for mothers, despite the majoring saying that they had seen an increase in women with maternal obesity.
23 March 2010
This page was last updated: 13 April 2010