Obesity during pregnancy puts the child in danger

Pregnant woman

Over 50% of women of childbearing age in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. In the U.K., the percentage of obese pregnant women has doubled in the past 19 years, from 7.6% to 15.6%.1 Obesity is closely linked to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and evidence is now mounting that excess maternal weight can have dangerous effects on fetal development.2

Obesity contributes to infertility, making it more difficult to become pregnant. Obese women who do become pregnant are at risk for serious complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and are more likely to require Caesarian section and labor induction.

The pregnancy of an obese women itself is at risk – obese women are more likely to experience early miscarriage or spontaneous intrauterine demise.3

The children of obese women are at increased risk of excessive birth weight, neural tube defects, and congenital heart disease.

Maternal overeating during pregnancy is even thought to produce adaptive cues that may predispose the developing fetus to obesity during childhood or adulthood.4

This is a serious issue that needs to be brought to women’s attention. All women want to have healthy pregnancies and to give their babies the healthiest possible start. Achieving a healthy weight prior to becoming pregnant can help to prevent devastating complications for mother and baby. Obesity is not benign, and it is not just a cosmetic issue – it is a serious health hazard, especially during pregnancy.

 

References:

1. Heslehurst N, Rankin J, Wilkinson JR, et al. A nationally representative study of maternal obesity in England, UK: trends in incidence and demographic inequalities in 619,323 births, 1989–2007. International Journal of Obesity (2010) 34, 420–428

2. Wiley-Blackwell (2010, January 26). Pregnant women who are overweight put their infants at risk, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/01/100120121558.htm

Walters MR, Taylor JS. Maternal obesity: consequences and prevention strategies. Nurs Womens Health. 2009 Dec;13(6):486-94; quiz 495.

3. Satpathy HK, Fleming A, Frey D. Maternal obesity and pregnancy. Postgrad Med. 2008 Sep 15;120(3):E01-9.

4. Wax JR. Risks and management of obesity in pregnancy: current controversies. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Apr;21(2):117-23.

USDA/Agricultural Research Service (2010, March 15). Baby's obesity risk: What's the mother's influence?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315125551.htm

More Problems with Multivitamins

A new report by ConsumerLab.com discovered many multivitamins either contain significantly more or less of an ingredient than they claim and some are even contaminated with lead. Scientists tested several products, including three for children, and found many exceeded tolerable limits of certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, folic acid, niacin and zinc, which can cause health risks like liver damage and bone-weakening. And a vitamin water examined had 15 times the amount folic acid stated; Reuters reports.

Our society loves magic pills and we forget foods like fruits and veggies are loaded with healthful nutrients. For example, broccoli is packed with vitamin K, which fights prostate cancer. Eating seeds and nuts helps prevent type-2 diabetes. And greens like Bok Choy contain compounds that neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against cancer.

In related news, a recent study showed high-dose beta-carotene may raise lung cancer risk. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s multi does not contain things like isolated beta-carotene, vitamin A and copper, which have be linked to cancer, birth defects and liver problems.

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Obesity Leads to Birth Defects

According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association obese women are more likely to give birth to children with congenital anomalies such as spina-bifida, heart problems and cleft palate. Researchers insist the overall risk is low since birth defects only affect 2% to 4% of pregnancies, but obese women were more likely to have a child with heart defects and nearly twice as likely to have a brain or spinal cord deformity; Reuters investigates.

In addition to birth defects, obesity can increase mortality in infants and women who gain too much weight during pregnancy may raise fatter teenagers. And other reports have linked obesity with cancer and heart attack risk, and greater likelihood of miscarriage.

Belly fat in particular is a problem. Studies associate larger waist sizes with both migraine headaches and stroke. Clearly, those extra pounds are more than just a pain in the butt.

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