Obesity continues to be a serious problem in the United States, and a new study indicates that one in four women are already overweight and considered obese when they become pregnant.
According to findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzing data from birth certificates in over 35 states showed the body mass index of 25% of new mothers was high enough to classify them as obese. This was especially true for pregnant women over the age of 20, and the high obesity rate has an ethnic component: pre-pregnancy obesity is more prevalent among Black and Hispanic mothers-to-be.
Utah moms had the lowest obesity before pregnancy rate at just 18% and the highest rate—nearly 25% of all studied, was found in South Carolina. Lifestyle plays a big part in these statistics. Regular exercise and smart food choices pre-pregnancy are habits that healthy women normally maintain and continue to follow during a pregnancy.
These statistics are alarming, given that excess weight is harmful to both the mother and her unborn baby, and is often a major contributing factor to high blood pressure and other troublesome pregnancy conditions. Given the extra "baby pounds" a pregnant mom inevitably gains, beginning your pregnancy while obese will make the pregnancy more complicated and impact your ability to return to a healthy weight after the delivery.