According to a recent study, expectant mothers who are obese are at a greater risk of developing various health problems. Some of the health problems that are likely to be faced by the expectant mother or the newborn include fetal defects, pre-term birth, perinatal death and congenital abnormalities.

The researchers have further advised women who plan to conceive to lose weight before getting pregnant. The researchers believe that losing some extra kilos will help avoid health complications in the long run.

According to the researchers, the level of maternal obesity has reached a high among the women aged between 20 and 39. At the start of the pregnancy, the healthy weight category suggested for women is between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2.

However, the researchers have claimed that nearly 31.9 percent of the women in the U.S. and 30 to 37 percent of the women in the U.K. suffer from maternal obesity. Women with a BMI of 30kg/m2 at the start of the pregnancy are categorized as obese.

“We need to provide pre-conceptual health education, through national subsidized programmes, to support and encourage women with a high BMI to lose weight before they conceive. The benefits for them and their babies can be significant," said Professor Cecily Begley, in a statement.

To come to the conclusion, the researchers reviewed a total of 573 research studies and carefully noticed the repercussions of delivery of an obese expectant mother as compared to the ones with healthy weight. The exhaustive review of different cases led researchers to critically list down the actual risks of maternal obesity on the physical and mental health of the baby and the mother.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the City University, London; the University of Gothenberg; and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin.

The study findings have been published in the journal Obesity Reviews.