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Obesity in Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Review of Influential Guidelines.

IMPORTANCE: Obesity is one of the most common clinical entities complicating pregnancies and is associated with short- and long-term consequences for both the mother and the offspring.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study were to review and compare the most recently published influential guidelines on the management of maternal obesity in the preconceptional, antenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum period.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A descriptive review of guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on obesity in pregnancy was carried out.

RESULTS: There is an overall agreement among the reviewed guidelines regarding the importance of prepregnancy weight loss with behavioral modification, optimization of gestational weight gain, and screening for comorbidities in improving pregnancy outcomes of obese women. Women with previous bariatric surgery should be screened for nutritional deficiencies and have a closer antenatal surveillance, according to all guidelines. In addition, folic acid supplementation is recommended for 1 to 3 months before conception and during the first trimester, but several discrepancies were identified with regard to other vitamins, iodine, calcium, and iron supplementation. All medical societies recommend early screening for gestational diabetes mellitus and early anesthetic assessment in obese women and suggest the use of aspirin for the prevention of preeclampsia when additional risk factors are present, although the optimal dosage is controversial. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists point out that specific equipment and adequate resources must be readily available in all health care facilities managing obese pregnant women. Moreover, thromboprophylaxis and prophylactic antibiotics are indicated in case of cesarean delivery, and intrapartum fetal monitoring is justified during active labor in obese patients. However, there are no consistent protocols regarding the fetal surveillance, the monitoring of multiple gestations, the timing and mode of delivery, and the postpartum follow-up, although weight loss and breastfeeding are unanimously supported.

CONCLUSIONS: Obesity in pregnancy is a significant contributor to maternal and perinatal morbidity with a constantly rising global prevalence among reproductive-aged women. Thus, the development of uniform international protocols for the effective management of obese women is of paramount importance to safely guide clinical practice and subsequently improve pregnancy outcomes.

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