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Obese women pregnancy risks

9th February 2009

A study by Kings College London has shown an obese woman has a higher risk of dangerous conditions during her first pregnancy.

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The research looked at information about the pregnancies of 385 obese women who were giving birth for the first time. They also analysed blood samples taken from 208 of the women.

They discovered that an obese woman had an increased danger of pre-eclampsia and premature births in comparison to a woman of normal weight.

An obese mother had almost twice the risk of having a baby which weighed under 5lbs 8oz (2.5kg).

18.8% of babies born to obese mothers weighed under 5lbs 8oz and were given the classification of "low birth weight".

In comparison, women of normal weight gave birth to 10% of babies in the low birth weight category.

11.7% of obese women had pre-eclampsia in comparison to 2% of mothers of normal weight. The researchers found the danger of the condition went up in relation to the amount of weight a mother gained during pregnancy.

The number of babies born prematurely was nearly double the national average at 11.9%.

The lead researcher, Professor Lucilla Poston of Kings College Hospital and St Thomas's Hospital, said: "The large proportion of small babies was particularly unexpected as obesity is more often associated with the birth of overweight babies."

"We must now start to consider first-time pregnancy as an additional problem in obese pregnant women, who we know are already more likely than thinner women to have a complicated pregnancy."

 

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