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Obesity numbers rising in pregnant women

United Arab Emirates: Thursday, March 26 - 2009 @ 13:24

Dr. Shamsa Al-Awar, Senior Consultant for Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Tawam Hospital indicated that the numbers are rising.

“We’re seeing a lot of patients with these conditions. In our society 30% of pregnant women who come to us are obese, and 28% are diabetic,” she said. “Basically, every one in four pregnant women we see are obese and diabetic.”

Dr. Al-Awar is worried about the statistics involved, because studies have shown that obesity can increase the health risks during pregnancy for both mother and baby. There is evidence to suggest that the cause of up to half of women who die while pregnant, or during childbirth, is due to obesity. The risk of maternal death is reportedly four to five times higher in women suffering from this condition, compared to those that do not.

This trend is being witnessed around the world, and tackling the problem is difficult. One step that is being introduced widely is for obstetricians to become more involved in the nutritional aspects for pregnant women. The idea of “eating for two” as being acceptable is now open for debate.

“From the first visit to our pre-natal clinics we talk about the issue of weight. We emphasise what weight gain women should see over the course of their pregnancy and recommend diets that will keep them within their optimal boundaries.”

Dr. Al-Awar said.

Further evidence suggests that obesity in pregnant mothers, and the diet they follow can have an effect on the future well being of the child later in life. Many experts are attributing the obesity epidemic being witnessed in children today as being caused by mothers who were themselves obese.

Dr. Al-Awar will be discussing this issue at the OBS-GYNE Exhibition & Congress taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 1-3 April, and organised by IIR Middle East. She will give a talk at the conference. Obesity: Foetal and Maternal Risks will consider the latest research findings and will offer solutions to overcoming the problem.

“Obesity is a major health issue because it affects people, regardless of age and regardless of whether they are going to have a baby or not,” she said. “The morbidly obese are open to a range of health problems including chronic heart disease, diabetes and for women it can affect ovulation. From this group, those that are pregnant can miscarry; they are more likely to suffer from hypertension and pre-eclampsia and they will have difficulty delivering the baby. Obesity is a problem we are actively trying to address.”

Obesity in pregnancy is only one subject covered at the OBS-GYNE congress. A diverse range of issues in the two specific areas of obstetrics and gynaecology will be discussed. These include the latest research findings in hormone-replacement therapy and the new state-of-the-art techniques being applied in cancer treatment.

Simon Page, Director of Life Science Division, IIR Middle East believes the subject areas are broad and warranted a stand alone congress to cover the range of issues involved. Obstetrics and Gynaecological matters had previously come under the Arab Health umbrella.

“These are two diverse subjects that have unique factors and the feedback from our delegates at Arab Health was a strong call for a single congress that was tailored to the needs of medical professionals working in these two areas,” he said. “The design of the programme will allow the latest research findings to be discussed, along with the international health policy protocols being followed that are improving women’s health globally. It’s vital that physicians, midwives and nurses keep on top of these rapidly changing subjects, and OBS-GYNE will become part of their on-going educational programme.”

OBS-GYNE Exhibition & Congress taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 1-3 April.

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Thursday, March 26- 2009 @ 13:24 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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