Birth Defects Linked to Obesity During Pregnancy
Obese women thinking of becoming pregnant may want to make body composition improvements prior to conceiving, suggests recent research. A study published in the February 11 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (2009; 301, 636–50) highlights an increased prevalence of congenital birth defects among children of obese mothers. The authors scoured observational studies and noted that women who were obese at pregnancy outset were more likely than “mothers of recommended BMI” to give birth to children with conditions such as spina bifida, cleft lip and palate, heart defects, limb reduction anomalies and enlargement of the ventricles in the brain. “Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of a range of structural anomalies, although the absolute increase is likely to be small,” stated the authors. “Further studies are needed to confirm whether maternal overweight is also implicated.”
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