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New Study: Obese Women Are Twice As Likely To Miscarry Or Endure A Baby’s Death

Fri, April 8, 2011 12:11pm EDT by Add first Comment

Research shows that overweight pregnant women have a greater chance of miscarrying or burying their child before their baby’s first birthday.

It is always recommended to be at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy and this new study proves that point. Women who plan on carrying a child should be more cautious about watching their weight, considering obesity could lead to a greater chance of miscarriages or premature baby deaths.

Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK, studied nearly 41,000 single pregnancies between 2003 to 2005 at five British maternity wards. They learned that women who were very overweight in early pregnancy had nearly double the risk of fetal death in utero or up to one year after birth compared to women who fell into healthy weight levels.

16 out of 1,000 babies born to obese mothers died versus nine out of 1,000 babies born to ‘healthy’ mothers.

“Given the rising prevalence of obesity in the population of pregnant women, the rates of miscarriage, stillbirth and infant mortality can be anticipated to increase,” reads the Newcastle University study, which was published this week in the European journal Human Reproduction.

But don’t take this research the wrong way — it doesn’t mean that obese women are unlikely to have healthy babies. Dr. Ruth Bell, a clinical senior lecturer in the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, says most babies, regardless of the size of their mothers, turn out fine. “It is uncommon for fetal and infant deaths,” Ruth tells the Daily Mail, “most women deliver healthy babies despite what weight they are.”

And although diets are not recommended during pregnancy, a healthy lifestyle is, so that the baby can get all the essential nutrients he or she is. “What is important, however, is that women are helped and supported to achieve a healthy weight before they become pregnant or after the baby is born,” Ruth adds, “as this will give the baby the best start to life.”

According to the study, obese women suffer about eight more fetal and infant deaths per 1,000 births than women who enter pregnancy at a recommended weight. And pre-eclampsia – pregnancy –related high blood pressure – was found to be a leading cause of obesity-related deaths.

Although researchers controlled for other factors, including the mothers’ age, ethnicity, smoking status, socioeconomic status and the birth weight and gestational age of the babies, they did not look into how diet, exercise, alcohol or caffeine consumption may have influenced pregnancy risks.

So, what do you think of all of this, HollyMoms?

–Leigh Blickley
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