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Stillbirth risk from maternal obesity

25th March 2011

Women have been warned to take care over their weight before and during pregnancy after figures revealed that there are higher numbers of newborn baby deaths from mothers who are obese.

Figures from the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (MACE) Perinatal Mortality 2009 report have shown a downward trend in stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates in this country over the last 10 years.

But findings did reveal that 10% of mothers who had a stillbirth or whose babies died in the neonatal period had a BMI of 35 or more.

Dr Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: “This report highlights a promising downward trend of perinatal mortality over the last 10 years. However, worryingly, the numbers of perinatal deaths linked to rising obesity is high.

“Maternal obesity is a key public health concern and pregnant women who are obese need to know about the possible risks to them and their baby.”

He urged women to maintain a healthy weight before falling pregnant.

In 2009 there were 790,781 live births in the UK. There were 4,125 stillbirths, 6,070 perinatal deaths and 2,511 neonatal deaths.

The UK stillbirth rate decreased from 5.4 per 1,000 total births in 2000, to 5.2 per 1,000 total births in 2009; the perinatal mortality rate showed a downward trend from 8.3 per 1,000 total births in 2000 to 7.6 per 1,000 total births in 2009; and the neonatal mortality rate decreased from 3.9 per 1,000 live births in 2000, to 3.2 per 1,000 live births in 2009.

 

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