A new study by the University of Scotland in Edinburgh has found a link between obesity during pregnancy and premature death due to cardiac problems. The study was published in the British Medical Journal on August 13.
Author of the study, Rebecca Reynolds and her team examined birth and death records of men and women born after 1950 in Scotland. They discovered that adults born to women who were obese during pregnancy were 35% more likely to die by the age of 55 than those born to women of average weight.
Although the researchers are not sure of the exact mechanism that causes these problems they suspect they may be due to metabolic changes in the heart and blood vessels during fetal development.
Obesity and Pregnancy Risk Factors
Obesity during pregnancy can cause a number of health problems for mom – greater risks include those for:
- high blood pressure
- gestational diabetes
- miscarriage and stillbirth
Babies born to obese women are at a greater risk for the following:
- heart problems
- neural tube defects
They are also more likely to be born large, especially if the mother has gestational diabetes, according to WebMd. Additionally, children of obese mothers are 40% more likely to be obese themselves. If both parents living in the home are obese, this chance doubles to 80%.
Although the risks of obesity during pregnancy to both mother and child have been well documented by numerous studies, the new Edinburgh study is the first of its kind to show a link between obesity in pregnancy and a greater risk of premature death once the child reaches adulthood.
Obesity does pose health risks for mother and child, however pregnancy is not the time to try and lose weight. Experts assert that rather than dieting to lose, an obese mom should try and limit weight gain to between 11 and 20 pounds during her pregnancy.