Maternal Obesity Linked To Birth Defects

If you are planning to get pregnant, you should lose the extra flab from your body. Studies have found that mothers who are obese or overweight before conception have greater risk of giving birth to infants with birth defects.

Risk of congenital heart disease

Researchers have found that incidence of congenital heart defects is greater among infants whose mothers were overweight or obese at the time of conception. It has been observed that compared to women with normal body weight, women who were overweight but not obese before pregnancy are 16 percent more likely to give birth to babies with congenital birth defects.

Compared to women with normal body mass index, women with body mass index between 30 and 34.9, who are considered moderately obese have 15 percent greater risk of giving birth to infants with heart defects. Obese women, with body mass index over 35 before pregnancy, have 31 percent greater risk of giving birth to infants with congenital heart disease than women with normal BMI.

Risk of spina bifida

Obese mothers could have greater risk of giving birth to infants with neural defects including spina bifida. Babies born with spina bifida have incompletely developed spinal cord or there may be opening in the covering of the spinal cord.

This birth defect occurs during the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column of the fetus fails to close completely. Neural defect causes paralysis of the hip and the legs. People suffering from this birth defect have problems in urinary and bowel movements. Children with spina bifida might also suffer from mental retardation.



Risk of ADHD

There is some evidence that suggests that Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD might be associated with maternal obesity. Researchers have observed that obesity causes distress. Maternal distress during pregnancy might be responsible for ADHD. Obese mothers have greater risk of giving birth to infants with low birth weight. Compared to infants with normal birth weights, infants with low birth weight have greater risk of developing ADHD.

Other birth defects

Obese mothers also have greater risk of giving birth to infants with cleft palate and cleft lip. The infants might have hydrocephaly or accumulation of fluid in the brain causing inflammation of the brain ventricles. Abnormality of the anus or rectum might also occur in infants of overweight mothers.







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