published Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Ask a doctor

Q. What are some effects of obesity on pregnancy?

A. The baby has increased potential for birth defects, growth abnormalities, miscarriage and stillbirth. Birth defects involving the spinal cord, heart and face are most common. If the mother develops diabetes, her baby has a greater chance of being hypoglycemic in the nursery. And maternal obesity has been associated with an increase in subsequent childhood obesity. While moderate exercise is recommended in most pregnancies, aggressive weight loss should be a patient's focus during the pre-conceptual period. Getting down to a healthy pre-pregnancy weight can help to ensure a healthy pregnancy for a mother and her baby.

-- Dr. David Barker, OB/GYN Center for Excellence; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit an obesity-related question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com. See this space each week for answers.

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