Overweight woman turned away from maternity ward

Lisa Graves, a 26 year old Australian mother, is 4 months pregnant and weighs 100 kg (220 lbs). Her local hospital is refusing to admit her due to her weight, instead directing her to another hospital that’s better equipped to deal with complex births.

Ms Graves  says the hospital is discriminating against her. “It’s my local public hospital. I should have access to it.”

But Dr Christine Tippett, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says directing obese pregnant women to high-needs maternity units is in their best interest. “Women who are seriously overweight have to recognise that it is not only a risk to their health but that the pregnancy can be associated with problems, and it is better to go somewhere where there are more people available. It is done with the woman’s best interests in mind and it should not be seen as discrimination at all. It is safe medical practice.”

Obesity can lead to high blood pressure and pregnancy diabetes. Ultrasounds and monitering babies during labor are more difficult. Epidurals are harder to administer, and it is more difficult to operate if an obese woman needs to go to theatre.

For these reasons, as well as other general health matters, and the health of the baby, its important for obese women planning to get pregnant to deal with their weight issue. Get more info here.

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