Pregnancy BMI

A new study has revealed that obesity in pregnancy is linked to cardiometabolic dysfunction in children. Not only can it increase the risk of severe cardiovascular issues later in life, but it can also lead to a shorter lifespan.

Today, more than half of women who attend antenatal care are clinically obese or overweight. However, the latest study also highlights that simple lifestyle changes could help to mitigate the risk.

Here, we’ll look at how pregnancy BMI links to cardiovascular disease, and the simple changes you can make to reduce the risks.

How does pregnancy BMI link to cardiovascular issues?

Obesity and being overweight during pregnancy is known to increase the risk of multiple complications. As well as raising the risk of gestational diabetes, thrombosis, caesarean birth, and high blood pressure, it is now known to link to cardiovascular disease in children.

The new study aimed to discover whether simple lifestyle choices could help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Participants with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 in early pregnancy were randomised in the trial. Some were provided with diet and exercise intervention, while others were presented with standard pregnancy care. Those partaking in the intervention treatment underwent one-to-one counselling, eating low-glycaemic index foods, moderate exercise, and limited their saturated fat intake.

Results of the trial showed that when lifestyles changes were made, it protected infants against cardiac remodelling. This limited the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Led by researchers from the King’s College London, the UPBEAT (UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial) multicentre randomised controlled trial was part funded by the British Heart Foundation. Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the findings show that diet and exercise intervention are key to reducing cardiovascular risk in babies.

Making lifestyle changes to reduce the risks

While the new research does cause concern given the increase in the number of pregnant women who are obese or overweight, it also shows simple changes can reduce the risk.

Women are generally advised to maintain a healthy weight throughout their pregnancy. However, expectant mothers shouldn’t try dieting to achieve weight loss. Instead, making healthy changes such as maintaining a safe exercise plan, increasing the number of fruits and vegetables, and limiting the amount of saturated fat in the diet can help.

It is important that any lifestyle changes are monitored by a professional. Our Consultant Obstetricians are members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG), and are fully trained to advise women throughout their pregnancy.

The benefits of a pregnancy check-up

If you are overweight and you are worried about the effects it may have on your child, undergoing a pregnancy check-up may help to ease your mind. After an initial assessment, the healthcare practitioner will recommend various treatment options.

A pregnancy check-up also helps to ensure there are no hidden health problems and that the pregnancy is progressing as it should.

At SureScan, we offer a variety of pregnancy services. Give our friendly team a call on 0121 308 7774 to book an appointment today.