Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mum's Share Their Experiences as Tees Study Published

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mum's Share Their Experiences as Tees Study Published

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sarah Dale and Marie Turbill Evening Gazette

Women who become pregnant and give birth while obese have a higher risk of needing a caesarean section or getting a wound infection, according to new research.

They also need longer needles, stronger theatre tables and special equipment to monitor the baby's heartbeat.

A five-strong team at the University of Teesside's School of Health spent two years researching the effects obese pregnant women have on the NHS.

The authors, from the Centre for Food, Physical Activity and Obesity Research at the university, published their results in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology this week.

Co-author Nicola Heslehurst, a researcher at the university, said: "We interviewed health care professionals in all 16 units in the North-east who care for obese pregnant women including midwives, junior doctors, community midwives, health visitors."

The research shows obese expectant mothers have an increased risk of complications and need extra equipment and staff. They are more likely to need extra scans and tests and have more caesarean deliveries. They suffer higher rates of infection and there are added risks for the baby.

"Special equipment needed includes stronger theatre tables and beds which need to be able to hold the weight of obese pregnant women," said Nicola.

"It can be very hard to pick up a foetal heartbeat on ultrasound scans on obese women so foetal scalp electrodes need to be used instead, which involves an internal procedure.

"Longer needles are used for spinal analgesia so they can get through the fat mass."

Nicola added that obese expectant mothers need more hospital care than home care.

She said: "There are increased caesarean deliveries which are more expensive and there is more likelihood of wound infections after caesareans because it is harder to keep the wound clean and dry."

The team is currently working on a study to ascertain the cost implications obese pregnant women have on the NHS. …

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