According to the online version of the British Medical Journal (2010; 341:c3428), overweight and obese women have a greater likelihood of delivering preterm babies. Examining data from 84 studies that included more than 1 million women, researchers found that overweight and obese women had a 30% higher risk of delivery before 32 weeks gestation, and a higher risk of induced preterm birth before 37 weeks. “Unlike many causes of preterm birth, maternal overweight and obesity represent a potentially preventable cause of the leading source of neonatal mortality and morbidity and morbidity through childhood,” stated the study authors. “Ideally, overweight or obese women should have prepregnancy counseling so they are informed of their perinatal risks and can try to optimize their weight before pregnancy.”
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