Obesity during pregnancy ups birth defects risk

February 11th, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 11 (ANI): Mums-to-be who are obese raise their chances of having babies with a wide range of birth defects, such as spina bifida, says a new study.
The research published in the February 11 issue of JAMA suggests that maternal obesity may be associated with the development of some congenital anomalies (abnormality present at birth).
To reach the conclusion, Katherine J. Stothard, Ph.D., and colleagues from Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., conducted a review and meta-analysis of studies.
The researchers identified 39 articles that were included in a systematic review and 18 articles in the meta-analysis.
“In women who were obese at the start of pregnancy, the meta-analysis demonstrated a significantly increased risk of a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect [nearly twice the odds], including spina bifida [more than twice the odds]; cardiovascular anomaly, including a septal anomaly [heart defect]; cleft palate and cleft lip and palate; anorectal atresia [abnormality of the anus/rectum]; hydrocephaly [abnormal enlargement of the ventricles of the brain due to accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid]; and a limb reduction anomaly,” the authors write.
The risk of gastroschisis (abdominal wall defect) among obese mothers was significantly reduced. (ANI)

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