FRIDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese
pregnant women are at increased risk for cesarean delivery,
according to a new study.
Researchers examined data from more than 50,000 women in Norway
who gave birth to one child. Women with preeclampsia, high blood
pressure, diabetes, gestational diabetes and placenta previa were
not included in the study.
The findings were published online recently in the journal
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
Women who were overweight and obese before pregnancy had an
increased risk of C-section. Those who were extremely obese had the
strongest risk of C-section and also had an increased risk of
The researchers also found that women who gained 35 pounds or
more during pregnancy had a significantly increased risk of
forceps, vacuum-extraction and C-section deliveries. This finding
was independent of a woman's weight before pregnancy.
In 2008, 1.4 billion adults worldwide were overweight and more
than 500 million were obese, according to the World Health
Organization. In the United States, about one-third of adults were
obese in 2009 and 2010, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
"With such alarming rates of obesity, understanding its impact
is an important health issue, particularly for women in
childbearing years," study author Dr. Nils-Halvdan Morken, of the
University of Bergen, said in a journal news release.
Although the study tied being heavier in pregnancy to a higher
risk of C-section, it did not establish a cause-and-effect
Although other factors may contribute to an increased risk of
C-section and vacuum-extraction delivery, doctors need to be aware
of the impact that being overweight and obese can have on pregnancy
and delivery to properly advise women considering having children,
The Nemours Foundation offers tips for staying
healthy during pregnancy.