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Preconception Counseling to Prevent the Complications of Obesity During Pregnancy


Obesity is epidemic in proportions in the United States, and obesity rates continue to rise each year. The group with the fastest rising obesity rate is young women in the reproductive years between the ages of 19 and 28. Obstetricians   and gynecologists see many women who fall into the overweight and obese categories. Without intervention these numbers will  continue to rise, putting patients and offspring at risk for numerous complications during pregnancy. Obstetricians and gynecologists often function as primary care providers because many women see only their OB/GYN for health care needs. Obstetricians and gynecologists have an opportunity to incorporate nutrition and exercise education into the primary care regimen of the women they see, because pregnancy and the postpartum period present a unique opportunity to impact the health of women for the rest of their lives. Lifestyle, nutrition, and weight loss counseling are not traditional  components of OB/GYN care but can complement services of other primary care specialties such as internal medicine and family medicine. Pre-pregnancy body mass index, weight gain during  pregnancy, and weight loss in the first year postpartum are all independent predictors of body mass index 15 years after pregnancy.