A report on the maternity services on offer by the NHS has highlighted a shortfall in provisions for obese women.
The survey, conducted by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE), revealed that only a third of NHS maternity units assessed provided specific advice to overweight women about their diet during pregnancy.
Even less were able to offer advice on preconception care, with just six per cent claiming to do so.
Professor Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, commented: "The survey reveals a need to improve the services and resources for obese pregnant women … The bottom line here is that we need to help women to improve their lifestyle and health, for the sake of their own long-term health, and not just in pregnancy."
A further increased risk has been noted among expectant mothers who are obese in a report, published in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health.
While it is established that mothers face a greater health risk if they give birth while pregnant, this study found that babies who are born to obese mothers are also at risk.