Obese Mothers’ Babies Suffer from Health Complications in Later Life

A new study suggests that children born to obese mothers are at greater risk of having health complications even during later stages of life.

The researchers studied medical records of 1,400 adults who were born around 1974-75. The records contained information about their mothers’ pre pregnancy weight, the weight gained during pregnancy as well as their blood test reports.

They found that people who were born to obese mothers were more heavy themselves, had larger waistline, lacked “good cholesterol” and were at a greater risk of developing heart diseases.

Earlier studies have indicated a strong co-relation between maternal obesity and health risks faced by the babies. A research even suggests that obese women who desire to become pregnant must bring down their Body Mass Index (BMI) to normal levels before conception. The researchers suggest that fetus in obese mothers’ womb grow in an unhealthy environment and so are pre-disposed to various risks associated with obesity.

Studies have indicated that obese mothers are more likely than normal weight mothers to have pre-term deliveries with babies who are 17 percent smaller than the babies born to healthy mothers. They are also at a greater risk to have congenital defect, spina bifida (split spine - the spine in this case does not close and in some cases the spinal cord protrudes through the opening in the bones) or autism.

“Obesity during pregnancy is now a common condition affecting approximately 1 of 5 pregnant women” says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that the cost of medical care for obese mothers and their infants is higher than normal weight mothers.

A related Australian study published in the journal Circulation, too suggests a co-relation between weight gain during pregnancy to the risk of the infant having higher BMI as well as blood pressure during adulthood.

The present study was carried out by researchers at Hebrew University–Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel, and Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle. The study is published in the journal Circulation.