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.

Image credit: SouthParkStudios.com

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Laura Ross - February 17, 2009 10:53 AM

A lot of researchers think that overweight women are more likely to go on unhealthy diets to get in good shape for pregnancy, and therefore they are not in the best of health to begin with.

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