MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
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Scottish pregnant women at risk due to weight

More than half of all expectant mothers in Scotland are overweight or obese at the start of their pregnancy.

This article was first published on 30 November, 2017

The problem is more acute among older mothers, with almost 60per cent in the at-risk category.

The proportion of mothers in Scotland with a body mass index (BMI) likely to cause concern has climbed from 41 per cent to almost 51 per cent in six years.

The mothers and unborn babies face a greater chance of complications, according to an Information Services Division report by the Scottish NHS. The report said that there had been a “consistent creeping increase” in the proportion of mothers overweight or obese in all age groups.

Pregnant women who are obese are more likely to have a miscarriage or a stillbirth. They have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure and diabetes and their babies are more likely to spend time in a neonatal unit.

In Edinburgh, Tommy’s Metabolic Antenatal Clinic has been set up with the support of NHS Lothian specifically to help severely overweight women deliver healthy babies.

Dr Fiona Denison, a Consultant Obstetrician and Reader in Maternal and Fetal Health at MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, sees patients at the clinic and researches the issue at CRH. She said the figures in the report mirrored her experiences as a clinician, and attributes the weight increase to unhealthy food and sedentary lifestyles.

Dr Denison said “Women generally do not want to be overweight. We all know we would prefer to eat more healthily and exercise more, but actually life is busy. It is very difficult to incorporate changes in your lifestyle.

“Often the first time women are confronted with their weight being an issue is when they are pregnant because they are not otherwise unwell.”

Please see below for the PDF to the full print article and the link to online coverage, in The Times