Obesity May Complicate Pregnancy, Studies Say

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Obesity May Complicate Pregnancy, Studies Say

Women who struggle with their weight and are hoping to have a family should take note. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes that women who are obese during pregnancy run a higher risk of having children with certain birth defects.

Doctors from Newcastle University in the U.K. examined nearly 40 previous studies of overweight moms and the risk of birth defects. They found that on average, obese mothers were twice as likely to bear children with neural tube problems, including spina bifida, than mothers who were a healthy weight. The risks of other abnormalities, like heart defects, cleft palates, and hydrocephalus, were also higher in studies of overweight moms.

The researchers involved in the analysis say that further study on the relationship between maternal weight and birth defects is needed to accurately assess the danger to babies posed by maternal obesity.

Now, if you’re overweight and pregnant, don’t let these figures make you upset. The data were derived from large-scale studies of pregnant women and infants – statistically speaking, the extra risk involved in any given pregnancy – say, yours – is relatively small. The best thing you can do to protect your baby is to stay healthy, eat right, and follow the advice of your OB-GYN.

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