As I have mentioned before, I have enjoyed learning new information about my topic for my research article which is maternal health. I wanted to take a look at the importance of nutrition during pregnancy and all of the different factors that play into it. I learned about maternal health in developing countries in my illness, wellness and healing class and decided to add an section on global maternal health to my RA as well.
In my principles of health class, we often discuss the topic of obesity and what causes it. I decided to research some peer-reviewed articles on maternal obesity and found an abundance of information that I have decided to use for my research article.
Maternal obesity is a growing concern among health officials but they are also strongly educated on the topic as well. Women obviously gain weight during their pregnancy, but their body mass index before they get pregnant can determine a number of factors. Obese and overweight women carry extra risks during pregnancy. This can be an issue for both the mother and the baby. Some problems associated with maternal obesity are gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm birth and can often lead to a cesarean section delivery. It can even cause problems as serious as stillbirth, miscarriage and fetal death. When mothers themselves are obese, the risk that their children will also become obese is more likely to occur. An interesting fact I found was that obese women have a greater chance of a surgical site infection after a c-section than women who are of normal weight.
Obesity can make breastfeeding difficult as well. A study shows that obese women breastfeed for a shorter period of time than women of normal weight. Physiological, behavioral, socio-cultural, psychological, medical or a combination of these can be reasons women have trouble breastfeeding. Some other related issues include smoking, low-self esteem or being self conscious in public, poor mental health or that they were not breastfed themselves as infants. Women with obesity may have elevated progesterone levels that may prevent the usual fall in progesterone following birth that leads to lactogenesis which helps with the production of breast milk. The abundance of research I am finding for my research project is helping me move through it at a swift pace and I am excited to see my final product!