The results of research published online by JAMA Neurol and highlighted in a recent BMJ article indicate that obese women i.e. those with a BMI of 30 or greater who use oral contraceptives could be at greater risk of suffering a (rare) type of stroke called cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). This is essentially a stroke caused by thrombosis of the venous channels in the brain. This latest research helps to illustrate as part of the wider picture of women’s health how important a factor high BMI is in increasing the risk of many serious conditions, including gynaecological conditions. Studies have shown too that pregnant women with a BMI that is too high (or indeed too low) can be subject to maternal complications that can pose risks to their unborn child as well as to themselves, and lead to increased numbers and increased duration of maternal admissions.
RCOG figures for example show that you could be considered to be overweight if your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, and obese if it is 30 or above. 20% of pregnant women for example are thought to have a BMI of 30 or above at the start of their pregnancy. The kinds increased risks that a mother can face during pregnancy if they have a high BMI include gestational diabetes, thrombosis, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
The kinds of risks to the baby due to a mother’s high BMI during pregnancy include higher risks of miscarriage and stillbirth, a higher risk of the baby having neural tube defects, and higher risks of the child developing obesity and diabetes in later life. If the mother has a very high BMI during labour and birth for example this can increase the risk of the baby being born early and of the labour taking longer with a higher risk of the need for e.g. an emergency caesarean. It could also cause anaesthetic complications and heavy bleeding after the birth.
Getting high quality, professional help during pregnancy and delivery can be a way to make sure that risks such as these can be reduced, and the health of mother and baby can be closely monitored and protected as much as possible. Making sure that the mother has a healthy BMI and is doing the right things to reduce health risks can also be good news for the child’s health in later life.
Along with my colleague Gordon Cochrane I offer a comprehensive Antenatal and Delivery Package. You can find out more about it on my website here: https://dev.zeus.velocir.co.uk/gynaecology/
For women who would like to get a comprehensive health check that covers all the important aspects of their health, as well as a comprehensive and reliable assessment of other areas of their health where they feel that they may have cause for concern I offer a Wellwoman Health Check.