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Maternal obesity linked to complications in newborns
- Sep 18, 2018 -

"Obesity needs serious attention, maybe even more than gestational diabetes receives," Blickstein said. "Doctors are happy to test women and implement therapy for gestational diabetes, but they fail, in general, to educate their patients."

Because obesity is an inflammatory disease, it can alter the fetal environment, the study authors point out. This could be exacerbated by the additional effects of strained labor. In the current study, obese women were more likely to be induced, have a prior Cesarean delivery, have a prolonged first stage of labor, and need oxytocin during labor. Babies of obese mothers also had higher birth weight.

"As the epidemic of obesity continues, this identifies yet another set of serious negative perinatal outcomes," said Dr. Jeffrey Gould, who directs the Perinatal Epidemiology and Health Outcomes Research Unit at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California.

Gould, who wasn't involved with this study, told Reuters Health by email, "This is a call to action, or rather, a call to two actions. The first is to develop nationally effective strategies to reduce the obesity epidemic. The second is for (obstetricians) to continue to perfect their approaches to the perinatal care of all obese women."