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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is now a common condition that affects up to one in four pregnant women. Research has shown that obesity during pregnancy is associated with a significantly increased risk of maternal and fetal complications, including:

  • Hemorrhage.
  • Thromboembolism.
  • Infection.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension or preeclampsia, post term.
  • Need for emergent cesarean delivery.

The fetuses of obese mothers are at increased risk of:

  • Intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD).
  • Stillbirth.
  • Early neonatal death.
  • Fetal anomalies.
  • Fetal intolerance of labor.
  • Preterm birth.
  • Macrosomia and shoulder dystocia.
  • Meconium aspiration syndrome.

Obesity in pregnancy may result in a greater use of inpatient and outpatient health care services, increased length of hospital stays for delivery, greater use of physician services, and decreased use of services by nurse practitioners and physician assistants during prenatal visits.

Women & Infants Hospital offers an Obesity in Pregnancy Clinic as part of the hospital's Integrated Program for High-Risk Pregnancy. A collaboration between the divisions of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Obstetric and Consultative Medicine, the multidisciplinary team is led by Drs. Kenneth Chen and Katharine Wenstrom and includes the services of an exercise physiologist, a nutritionist, a behavioral psychologist, a bariatric surgeon and an anesthesiologist.

Services of the Obesity in Pregnancy Clinic include:  

  • Care for obese patients who are already pregnant:
    • One-time consultation.
    • Co-management with the patient's obstetric provider (i.e.. one visit per trimester).
    • Transition of care to the Integrated Program for High-Risk Pregnancy.
  • Pre-conception counseling.
  • Active intervention for obese women wishing to lose weight before they conceive.
Appointments are available at Women & Infants' Center for Women's Medicine, 100 Dudley Street, 3rd floor, Providence Referrals and appointments may be made by calling (401) 453-7545 or (401) 453-7950.