Obese Mothers At Risk For Delivering Babies With Birth Defects

New studies are urging women to lose weight if they have the desire to have any children. It has always been said that women who are overweight will have a harder time conceiving. Those that are able to have a higher risk of delivering babies with serious birth defects.

“We found that being obese in pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of having a range of birth defects,” said Judith Rankin a study senior author, a reader in maternal and perinatal epidemiology at Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. “A further finding is that women who are overweight may also be at an increased risk, although the research evidence is not so clear and further work is needed,” she said.

Medical research proved a long time ago that obesity in pregnancy can cause gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, a high risk of blood clots and infection. Babies that are born to women who are obese have a higher risk of perinatal death and of struggling with weight in the future.

In order to better understand the situation Rankin had 2,000 studies on pre-pregnancy and early pregnancy birth and weight defects. 39 of these studies were included in their review. With the information they had they were able to determine that the risk of a neural tube defect in children born to obese women was 87% higher than women who were at a normal weight.

Rankin went on to say that they were not sure what exclusively about obesity caused birth defects. Rankin poin did say that despite their findings the absolute risk of an obese woman having a baby with birth defects is still low. “Birth defects occur in between 2 and 4 percent of all pregnancies, so the risk, even in obese women, remains low. If a woman who is obese is thinking of having a baby, the most important thing is to speak to their doctor and to think about their weight and diet so that they eat healthily and sensibly,” she said.

February 11th, 2009 • tonks • News and Opinion Comments Off


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