Obesity, birth and health

The NYTimes reports that obesity is increasingly complicating pregnancy and delivery for U.S. women, and hospitals are slowly adjusting. One obvious correlation is between obesity and the odds of Cesarean-section deliveries:.

Obesity rates are likely to be one of the factors behind the U.S.’s anomalous upward trend in maternal mortality in recent decades, and its abysmal ranking in preterm births and infant mortality. Obesity, along with other health problems, increases the odds of preterm delivery, much of which is by C-section — the subject of a recent Congressional hearing. However, although obesity rates are higher for Blacks than for Whites, preterm delivery rates have risen in the last 20 years for all groups except Blacks (despite tapering downward in the last several years):

Although obesity is a proximate cause of some health problems, it is also a consequence of other health conditions, poor diet, poverty, and so on. Obesity does not cause all the problems with which it is correlated, even when the association is strong, as with C-sections.

4 thoughts on “Obesity, birth and health

    1. Thanks, Naomi. Good tip, and good resource links. Seems there are both good reasons for some obese women to need c-sections, and bad reasons that they are more likely to have c-sections inflicted on them. -PNC


  1. There is too much controversy surrounding the obesity epidemic and whether or not it has been socially constructed to get into it in this little box. But because you study inequality, and there is so much inequality based on size for women, you should really look into it.


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