An epidemic of obesity is affecting growing numbers of women in their childbearing years increasing their risk of obstetric complications including diabetes, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, some malformations, macrosomia and the need for obstetric intervention. There is growing evidence that maternal obesity may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes in the offspring. Obesity and diabetes in pregnancy have independent and additive effects on obstetric complications, and both require management during pregnancy. Management of obesity including weight loss and physical activity prior to pregnancy is likely to be beneficial for mother and baby, although the benefits of bariatric surgery remain unclear at this time. Limiting gestational weight gain to 5-9 kg among pregnant obese women is likely to improve obstetric outcomes, but how to achieve this remains an active area of research. If gestational diabetes develops, there is good evidence that clinical management reduces the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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