Monday, August 23, 2010

Obesity and Cesarean Section

A recent blog post on The Unnecesarean sheds some light on the connection between obesity and cesarean section:

The post is partly in response to a New York Times article:

The Unnecesarean post also cites a really good blog post on The Well-Rounded Mama:

For a nice overview of the topic, read the post on The Unncesarean, and if you want more info, read the other two as well.

In a nutshell, this is what I learned:

  • Obese women are more likely to have a cesarean because of the increased risk of pregnancy complications like Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (AKA Preeclampsia).  How much?
  • According to The Well-Rounded Mama, 90% of obese women will NOT experience GD or PIH.  The risk for GD in morbidly obese women (BMI over 35) is 9.5%, compared to 2.3% in women with a BMI less than 30.  The risk for PIH in morbidly obese women is 6.3% compared to 2.1%.

Jill from The Unncesarean also points out that these aren't the only reasons obese women are more likely to have a c-section compared to other women, and that journalists should write about the reasons and heart of the matter rather than simply sensationalizing the trends.

I personally have a hard time seeing how these complication risks can warrant the current US overall cesarean rate of 33%.  Something to think about.

1 comment:

  1. I can definitely see Jill's point over at Unnecesarean, but I also recently learned (and shared on my blog) that the uterine muscle tissue of obese women tends to contract less efficiently than the uterine muscle tissue of normal weight women.

    Obesity carries with it all kinds of troubling health issues, and we may not know all the ways those health issues could be impacting the pregnancy and birth processes. It's always a good idea, in my opinion, to try to get as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant because the more we can improve our health, the more likely it is that things will go well with our pregnancies and babies.

    That's easy for me to say since I've never struggled with my weight, and I don't know what it's like to be obese, but I thought I'd throw it out there.