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Maternal obesity linked to complications in newborns
- Sep 17, 2018 -

Obesity may be as important (as) hypertension and diabetes as a modifiable risk factor to improve birth outcomes, the study authors wrote in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, online August 17.

"As obstetricians, we have the unique responsibility of thinking about multiple lives, such as the woman carrying the pregnancy and the fetus developing in the womb," said study leader Dr. Brock Polnaszek of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in an email to Reuters Health.

Polnaszek and colleagues studied 3,311 obese women and 3,147 non-obese women who had full-term vaginal deliveries. None of them had diabetes or hypertension.

About 9% of the babies of obese mothers had complications, compared to about 7% of infants born to non-obese women.

Specifically, the newborns of obese patients were more likely to have suspected sepsis, although bacteria culture results showed actual sepsis rates didn't differ between the groups, the authors note.

Also, while the rates of these problems were very low, the infants of obese mothers were more likely to have hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy and require hypothermia treatment.

"Some risks, such as stillbirth, were attributed in the past to diabetes but have been shown to be complications of pre-pregnancy obesity instead," said Dr. Isaac Blickstein of Kaplan Medical Center and Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem, Israel. Blickstein, who wasn't involved with this study, researches risks related to maternal obesity.