RCM comment on research on complications arising from obesity in pregnancy

By RCM on 22 June 2017 Pregnancy Obesity RCM Women Midwives Specialist Midwives

Today research published by the University of Edinburgh says that specialist antenatal clinics for severely obese mums-to-be can help cut rates of pregnancy complications, and that women who received the specialist care were eight times less likely to have a stillbirth.

Commenting on the research, Rona McCandlish the Guidelines and Audit Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Being obese when pregnant can cause complications for women and their babies and means we should do all we can to offer support and specialist maternity services for these women. 

“Effective team working by midwives, doctors and other health professionals has long been recognised as  leading  to better outcomes for women  and this has again  been highlighted in this study.

“An increasing number of women are overweight or obese when they start having a family and  midwives do know they have a critical role to play in promoting public health and supporting  weight management. This is why the RCM’s Stepping up to Public Health webpages  highlight  evidence-based information and tools for women* and midwives** to help them manage weight in pregnancy and after birth.

“However we also know that many midwives are tremendously pressed because of staff shortages and find they are unable to spend as much time as they need to support and advise  women about their weight management.

“We would encourage maternity service managers to look at the RCM Stepping Up to Public Health resources, and  to find out about successful approaches to support their staff to improve care for women.  The backing of their organisation’s board  will also be crucial to implement the changes needed. 

“Healthy weight management in pregnancy has positive impact on wider public health outcomes preventing obesity in the first place in babies, and on obesity in men as well as women. This research is further evidence for action to make sure maternity services can support better family health.”

For the RCM’s pregnancy and birth information hub for women visit https://www.rcm.org.uk/pregnancy-and-birth-information-hub-for-women.