Study: Mother's higher BMI puts stillborn, infant death at highe - KMSP-TV

Study: Mother's higher BMI puts stillborn, infant death at higher risk

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(WJBK) - When a woman is pregnant, she has probably heard the phrase "you're eating for two." New research shows the dangerous connection between a pregnant woman's increased weight and the risk to the unborn baby.

A British study finds pregnant women with a higher Body Mass Index increase their risk of stillbirth and infant death.

"There is definitely an association between the body mass index and the demise of the baby," says Cleveland Clinic obesity expert Dr. Karen Cooper.

Researchers at Imperial College in London analyzed the data in 38 studies on BMI and pregnancy. They found that even modest increases in maternal BMI were associated with increased risk of fetal death, stillbirth and infant death.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several conditions, like Type-2 diabetes, that are strongly linked to the risk of fetal and infant death.

"We do know that fat cells produce a lot of inflammation, and it could be that the inflammatory changes are producing changes that are similar to other diseases we are familiar with in pregnancies, such as diabetes, hypertension and preeclampsia that are affecting the fetus in a way that we never have thought of before," says Cooper.

Researchers say weight management guidelines for women who plan pregnancies should take these findings into consideration.

Dr. Cooper says its important women maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.

"Really, someone only needs about 300 extra calories per day. We're really producing a six pound baby, a seven and eight pound baby, and the idea that you have to eat so much more because you're pregnant is really not, not true," she says.

Complete findings for the study are in the "Journal of the American Medical Association."
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