Infants whose mothers were obese before pregnancy appear to have an increased risk of death, according to a new study.But even though the researchers found that pre-pregnancy obesity was related to worse outcomes for infants, it’s important to note that the study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Still, the study’s lead author, Eugene Declercq of Boston University School of Public Health, said, “There is a need for more open, honest discussions about avoiding the possible risks of maternal obesity on infant health.”
For the study, researchers reviewed data from more than 6 million newborns. The babies were born in 38 states between 2012 and 2013.
Infants born to obese women were twice as likely to die from preterm birth-related causes than those born to normal-weight women, the investigators found.
Infants born to obese women were also more likely to die from birth defects and sudden infant death, the study showed. And, the more obese the mother, the greater the risk of infant death.
Even if obese women adhered to weight-gain guidelines during pregnancy, it had little effect on infant death risk, the study authors said.
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Obesity Before Pregnancy Tied to Raised Risk of Newborn Death