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Obese mothers risk health

29th January 2007

31082006_obesity1.jpgIncreasing numbers of expectant mothers are putting their health at risk due to obesity, says a recent study.

Maternal obesity has risen dramatically in recent years and if the trend continues a fifth of all pregnant women will be classified obese by 2010.  Researchers from the North East Public Health Observatory, who carried out a study of 37,000 women over a 15-year period, say urgent action is needed to halt this "serious public health time bomb."

Obesity is a serious health risk for expectant mothers and their babies.  Obese women are more likely to suffer a miscarriage than women of a healthy weight and those who carry their babies to term have statistically more problematic pregnancies.  Obese mothers are also at an increased risk of pre-eclampsia and blood clotting and are more likely to need a caesarean section to deliver their babies.  Most worryingly, obesity is a factor in 35% of maternal deaths and the babies of obese mothers also face an increased risk of dying.

The study found that women from deprived areas run the greatest risk of maternal obesity and are twice as likely to be overweight at the start of pregnancy. Gail Johnson of the Royal College of Midwives said: "Socially excluded groups already face challenges in maintaining health and obesity may make health gains harder to achieve.?

A spokesperson for the Teesside study group said, "At a time when NHS resources are stretched, the scale of the problem in future years will need to be scoped, to identify 'at-risk' groups and help plan service delivery more effectively." 

 

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