The prevalence of obesity is high and rising worldwide. The greatest prevalence of obesity is found in the western world and in urban developing countries. There is an increased maternal mortality associated with maternal obesity. There are increased risks of most maternal complications in pregnancy including pre-eclampsia, gestational and pre-existing type 2 diabetes mellitus and thromboembolic disorders. There is an increased perinatal mortality associated with maternal obesity; there are increased risks of congenital malformation, fetal macrosomia and indeed risks for the fetus as a child and adult in the years to come. There are increased risks of complications of pregnancy including caesarean section, traumatic delivery and a reduced chance of breastfeeding. Maternal obesity in pregnancy predicts long-term risks for that mother. The management includes increased surveillance for these risks and lifestyle modulation during pregnancy. This includes dietary measures and encouraging modest increase in exercise. Ideally, the mother should achieve closer to an ideal body mass index prior to pregnancy using lifestyle intervention but possibly with pharmacological therapy or bariatric surgery. The ideal weight gain for an obese mother is less than the ideal weight gain for a lean mother.
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