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Losing Weight Reduces Risk of Complication in Pregnancy

While losing weight that was gained during pregnancy can be tough for many new moms, it has been discovered that a mere 10 pounds reduction between pregnancies may actually help many women avoid a recurrence of a dangerous complication that was diagnosed during the first pregnancy during the next.

The condition is preeclampsia which occurs in around five percent of pregnancies every year in the US and is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine.

Major Cause of Maternal Death

According to Dr. Dorothea Mostello, who is based at the St. Louis School of Medicine, and is the lead author of a study published in the Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology for September, it's a major cause of maternal death during childbirth to occur in the developed world. She said,

"It can be more systemic than just high blood pressure. It can affect the liver, kidneys and the body's blood clotting system."

Research carried out by the team previously had highlighted pre-pregnancy weight as one of the "strongest risk factors for recurrence." Other similar research suggests that even a small level of weight loss brings health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease.

The team decided to continue tests to see if losing weight would reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia.

Analyzing medical records of around 18,000 women from Missouri who developed preeclampsia during their first pregnancy and gave birth twice between 1989 and 2005 they noted that prior to their second pregnancies, 1417 of the women had weighed less than before their first. Of the rest, 8,783 remained close to the same weight and 8,798 weighed more.

The women who kept the same weights were used as a control group.

Developing Preeclampsia

They found that during their second pregnancies around 16 percent of the total number of women developed preeclampsia. Of that number, the results showed that of those who developed a recurrence:

It was noted by the authors that even small changes in weight between pregnancies which can be as little as a 10 pound drop for a woman of average height can make a significant reduction in the risk of preeclampsia recurring. Mostello said,

"If you are overweight and you lose weight, your rate (of preeclampsia recurrence) is as low as someone in the normal weight category, and if you are overweight and get heavier, your rate is as high as someone in the obese category.

Similarly, if people at their correct size gain body mass they have as high a risk as overweight people."

Keeping fit and eating a healthy diet between pregnancies is a positive step to reducing many health risks that can occur during the second pregnancy and the results of this latest study show there is even more reason to do so.


Posted on Sat, 28 Aug 2010 in News | 1 Comments

1 thoughts on "Losing Weight Reduces Risk of Complication in Pregnancy"

Eileen says:

Hi that was an interesting story and I suppose it makes plenty of sense to lose weight before you get pregnant or in the early stages for a load of health reasons. So now it also helps reduce the risk of preeclampsia? I guess there was always going to be a simple reason why that condition is on the rise, following in the trend of overweight and obesity. Thanks for a good story!