A sharp rise in the number of severely obese mothers delivering babies in many Irish maternity hospitals is causing concern among doctors.
The number of severely obese mothers attending the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin grew by 48.5 per cent between 2009 and 2013, according to a recently published study. The Rotunda hospital has also seen a big increase in morbid obesity among its patients.
Obese mothers are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and haemorrhaging after birth, and to require delivery by Caesarean section. Their children are at increased risk of being stillborn or delivered early and to experience obesity in later life.
The Coombe study found it was “concerning” that while the overall obesity level among mothers remained stable, the number of cases of severe obesity increased.
“The major increase in the absolute number of women classified as severely obese is a concern not only in terms of increased clinical risk but also in terms of the increased in technical challenges and economic costs for the maternity services,” say researchers from the Coombe and UCD’s centre of human reproduction.
The obesity rate among mothers from the 13 EU accession countries (mostly in Eastern Europe) was half that of mothers born in existing EU countries.