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New warning for obese mothers

Monday August 22nd, 2011

New findings from a London medical school highlight the risks to babies of being born to obese mothers.

Researchers at Imperial College have shown the extent to which these babies are born with layers of fat around the abdomen and liver.

The growing problem of obesity during pregnancy has vexed policy-holders - and official UK guidance tells women they should not be "eating for two" during pregnancy.

The latest findings come from a study of some 105 mothers and their babies. Eight of the women were obese and 23 were overweight. Five were underweight.

Babies were studied using scanning devices to measure the amount of fat in their bodies. The findings have been published in the journal Pediatric Research.

Professor Neena Modi, who is a consultant neonatologist at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, said: "Fatter women have fatter babies and there is more fat in the babies livers. If these effects persist through childhood and beyond, they could put the child at risk of lifelong metabolic health problems.

“There is growing evidence that a baby’s development before birth has a major impact on their health in later life. This means that the prevention of obesity needs to begin in the womb."

She added: “Today about half of all women of childbearing age in the UK are overweight or obese. We need to identify what the optimal body mass index for the mother is so we can help women ensure that their bodies are in the best possible condition before they get pregnant.”

The influence of maternal body mass index on infant adiposity and hepatic lipid content. N. Modi et al. Pediatric Research, Volume 70 – Issue 3, September 2011.

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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