Birth defects risk higher for obese women

Obese women face a higher risk of having babies with birth defects than women with a healthy weight, a new study reveals.

Birth defects risk higher for obese women
Obese women face a higher risk of having babies with birth defects than women with a healthy weight, a new study reveals.

The results involving nearly 15,000 women from eight states found abnormalities of the spine, heart, arms, legs and abdomen, building on previous research that showed heart and spine defects. The greatest risk was for spina bifida.

"Obese women should not be overly alarmed by these findings because their absolute risk of having a child with a birth defect is low, and the cause of the majority of birth defects is unknown," said University of Texas researcher Kim Waller, the study's lead author.

The findings suggest that about 4 percent of women who are obese before pregnancy will have babies with major birth defects, versus 3 percent for healthy-weight women, Waller said.

Obese women faced double the risk of having babies with spina bifida than women of healthy weight. With spina bifida, the most common disabling birth defect in the United States, the spinal column fails to close properly. That often leads to leg paralysis, learning difficulties and other serious problems.

Very heavy women also were 60 percent more likely to have babies born with a rare defect in which abdominal organs protrude through the belly button; 40 percent more likely to have heart defects; 36 percent more likely to have shortened arms or legs; and at least 20 percent more likely to have any of several gastrointestinal deformities.

The study was released Monday in the August edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. It was funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Participants included 10,249 women whose babies were born with at least one birth defect. They were compared with 4,065 women with healthy babies.

Agencies
Last Mod: 11 Ağustos 2007, 01:47
Add Comment