Obesity and Pregnancy

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Dawn M Palaszewski, MD; Chief Editor: Edward H Springel, MD, FACOG  more...
  • Print

Practice Essentials

Results from the 2013-1014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicate that an estimated 32.7% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25.0 – 29.9), 37.9% are obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30.0), and 7.7% are extremely obese (BMI greater than or equal to 40.0). Among women, many of whom are reproductive age, 26.5% are overweight, 40.4% are obese, and 9.9% are extremely obese. The prevalence of obesity has been steadily increasing in the United States. [1] A pregnancy-specific definition of obesity has not been standardized, so pregnant women are often considered obese or non-obese based on their pre-pregnancy BMI, or the BMI at the initial prenatal visit if this is unknown.  Many factors contribute to the development of obesity with lifestyle and diet being the most important. Due to increasing prevalence, obstetric care providers will need to be well-versed in care of the pregnant obese patient.