The risk of a baby dying during its first year of life is twice as high in mothers who were obese by the time they got pregnant than in normal-weight mothers.
ANN ARBOR—This, according to researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
And it's not necessarily the usual complications of pregnancy associated with being overweight—preeclampsia and gestational diabetes—that are to blame, said Dr. Eduardo Villamor, U-M associate professor of epidemiology and study co-author.
The research showed that 81 percent of infants who made it to term died of these conditions or from infection.
The study of 1.85 million live single births in Sweden from 1992 to 2010 analyzed data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register, which since 1973 has collected information on about 98 percent of all births in that country.
The researchers used body-mass index definitions of underweight (less than or equal to 18.4), normal (18.5-24.9), overweight (25.0-29.9), obese grade I (30.0-34.9), obese grade II (35.0-39.9) or obese grade III (greater than 40.0) to categorize the mother's weight at pregnancy. They found that 24 percent of women were overweight and 9 percent were considered obese. (SOURCE: University of Michigan)
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