Need To Know: Obesity

Issue No. 4: Black Maternal Health
Words - Diana McDonnell: MSN, APRN, AGNP-CP
Illustration - Alexandra Folino


Being overweight or obese during pregnancy can put a parent at risk of certain complications, so prenatal care, including regular appointments with a health care provider, is very important. Obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and sleep apnea. Obesity can also increase risk of a large sized baby, preterm birth, birth defects, and stillbirth.

Following advice for prenatal care, including exercise and healthy eating, can help you to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby, regardless of your size. Unfortunately, size discrimination can contribute to provider bias, which. Provider bias is when a health care provider uses assumptions and stereotypes to inform their treatment plan or diagnosis. Look for a health care provider who uses a body and size positive approach and understands health at any size to ensure that you are receiving reproductive and prenatal care that is free of bias.