Obesity treatments could be one way to help women get into good health before having a child.

According to recent research conducted for the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE), around five per cent of expectant mothers in the UK are now classified as obese.

Professor James Walker, chair of the CMACE, commented: "The numbers of obese mothers are on the rise and this group of women require specialist care since they are more susceptible to illnesses and complications.

"So far, there hasn’t been a UK-wide study on the extent of the problem but we now have very good data on how these women are cared for and the areas where improvements are urgently needed."

This study found that maternity units were not well-prepared to cater for the needs of very overweight women.

However, health professionals suggested that the solution lies in helping women to lose weight before they fall pregnant to improve their health and that of their child.

The study also found that just 55 per cent of women with a Body Mass Index of 35 and above gave birth naturally.

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