a1 MRC/University of Edinburgh Centre for Reproductive Health, The Queen's Medical Research Institute, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK
The global pandemic of maternal obesity presents a major challenge for healthcare providers, and has significant short- and long-term implications for both maternal and fetal health. Currently, the evidence-base underpinning many of the interventions either currently in use or recommended to improve pregnancy outcome in obese women is limited. The nature and timing of these interventions vary widely, ranging from simple advice to more intensive dietary and exercise programmes, cognitive behavioural therapy and drug trials. In addition, a growing number of very severely obese women now enter pregnancy having had surgical interventions. Although surgical interventions such as gastric bypass or banding may be associated with improved pregnancy outcomes, these women have particular nutritional requirements, which need to be addressed to optimise pregnancy outcome. Until the outcomes of ongoing current trials are reported and provide a firm evidence base on which to base future intervention strategies and guide evidence based care for obese pregnant women, pregnancy outcome is best optimised by high-risk antenatal care delivered by healthcare providers who are experienced in supporting these high-risk women.
(Online publication August 18 2011)