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Obese mums more likely to have babies with birth defects

PREGNANCY: Obese women (women with a BMI of 40 or more) were 37% more likely to give birth to a baby with a birth defect than a woman of a healthy weight

"WOMAN WHO are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects," according to The Guardian.

In a new study carried out by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, they looked at more than a million health records and found a link between excess body mass index (BMI) and the risk of a child being born with birth defects.

The researchers found there was a sliding scale of risk: the heavier the mother, the higher the risk.
Very obese women (women with a BMI of 40 or more) were 37% more likely to give birth to a baby with a birth defect than a woman of a healthy weight.

But although a 37% increase in risk sounds alarming, the actual risk only goes up by 1.3%.

Defects affecting the heart, also known as congenital heart disease, were the most common type of defect.

The researchers recommend that women planning a pregnancy try to achieve or maintain a normal body weight and lead a healthy lifestyle before getting pregnant.

This seems a good approach to take, not only for the health of your baby, but also for yourself.

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