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Being overweight and pregnant raises the risk of minor complications, too

July 20, 2009 | 12:37 pm

Being overweight while pregnant can cause serious complications, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia. More minor symptoms, although sometimes overlooked, are linked to being heavy during pregnancy as well.

F09sksgyA new study published online recently in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecologycharted symptoms of 651 pregnant women over separate periods in 2007 and 2008 at the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. The average age of the women was almost 30, and average body mass index was about 25, considered overweight. About 58% of women were normal weight during their first trimester, about 26% were overweight, and about 16% were obese.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that the higher the BMI of the women, the more likely they would report minor complications of heartburn, symphysis-pubis dysfunction (separation of the joint in the front of the pelvic bone area, causing pelvic girdle pain), chest infection and carpal tunnel syndrome.

All of this translated into estimated higher medical costs -- three times more than what it would cost to treat a healthy-weight mother-to-be.

In the study, the authors wrote, "Although symptoms such as heartburn are common and are generally perceived as being benign, they can be associated with significant morbidity, increased healthcare usage, and therefore increased costs."

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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