Mothers who are overweight before preganancy have a higher risk of giving birth to babies with Congenital Heart Defects. The findings of this large study was published in the online version of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology on the 5th October.
Wkipedia defines Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) as “a defect in the structure of the heart and vessels of a newborn. Most heart defects either obstruct blood flow in the heart or vessels near it or cause blood to flow through the heart in an abnormal pattern, although other defects affecting heart rhythm can also occur. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths”.
The study was the outcome of an analysis from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBPC) to evaluate the association between a mother being overweight when conceiving and the risk of the newborn having CHD. A woman was considered overweight if she had a BMI of more than 25 kg/m2.
The researchers concluded that the findings corroborated with those of previous studies.
Suzanne M.Gilboa, the lead author of the study was quoted as saying, “These results support previous studies, as well as provide additional evidence, that there is an association between a woman being overweight or obese before pregnancy and certain types of heart defects.”
She further added, “This provides another reason for women to maintain a healthy weight. In addition to the impact on a woman’s own health and the known pregnancy complications associated with maternal obesity, the baby’s health could be at risk.”
Women should be in prime shape when they conceive for 2 reasons. The first reason is to ensure that they have a lower chance of developing complications such as gestational diabetes or piling on too much weight during the course of the pregnancy. The second reason is not to put the unborn baby in risk as is evident from the findings of this study.