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Post-pregnancy weight gain link to child risk

Thursday December 3rd, 2015

Women who put on weight after their first pregnancy face an increased risk of losing the second child, Swedish researchers report today.

Researchers pinpointed an increase of 6kg - about 13lbs - a being significantly linked to risk of stillbirth or loss of a child in infancy.

The findings, reported in The Lancet, come from a study of more than 45,000 women over a 20 year period.

Women who put on 11kg between pregnancies faced a 50% greater risk of losing the baby within four weeks than those who maintained a stable weight between births.

The researchers said the risk was especially great for women who were of normal weight in their first pregnancy.

Researcher Professor Sven Cnattingius, from the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, said: "The public health implications are profound.

"Around a fifth of women in our study gained enough weight between pregnancies to increase their risk of stillbirth by 30-50%, and their likelihood of giving birth to babies who die in infancy increased by 27-60%, if they had a healthy weight during their first pregnancy."

Dr Daghni Rajasingam, from the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "This study, examining nearly half a million women, adds to the evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk of stillbirth and child mortality.

“Women who are overweight or obese, whether planning a first pregnancy or are between pregnancies, should try to lose weight on a structured weight loss programme recommended by a healthcare professional – aiming to lose around 1kg a week."

Lancet 3 December 2015 [abstract]

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Diet & Food | Europe | Fitness | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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