Greater need for prenatal care in Orange County

October 19, 2011
Dr. Manuel Porto

IN THE NEWS: An Orange County Register article about the county’s high rate of cesarean sections noted that the procedure often increases medical costs as well as health risks for mother and baby.

Obesity-related complications are one factor, leading obstetric experts to recommend pre-conception efforts to improve the health of all women of childbearing age.

Dr. Manuel Porto, chairman of obstetrics at UC Irvine, said mothers with gestational diabetes often have very large babies that can’t be delivered vaginally. He said there’s a greater need for primary care doctors to focus on preconception health for women of childbearing age.

“Once the pregnancy is ongoing, you’re not going to have an obese person go on a diet and achieve her ideal body weight,” Porto said. “Getting patients on an exercise program and diet program and addressing all that before even trying to get pregnant can improve the outcome of the pregnancy.”

The finding was part of a snapshot of maternal health from the county’s Health Care Agency analysis of hospital data in a new report called “Complications of Pregnancy and Childbirth in Orange County.”

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