Obese women are not only more likely that their children have weight problems, but, according to the most comprehensive study conducted on the subject, babies of obese mothers they have one greater probability of presenting some congenital malformations.
The study reveals very alarming aspects Regarding this issue, how are obese moms more frequently having babies with congenital diseases such as spina bifida, certain hernias or limb defects.
"This is the first large-scale population study which has examined obesity before pregnancy and a series of structural problems at birth, "the researchers explain in the latest issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Until now, excess weight had been linked to complications in pregnancy and even with certain malformations, although these were not conclusive studies The problem is that in these studies a very small number of children with problems were analyzed, so it was difficult to measure the risk posed by the weight of the mother.
In the new work, the authors have analyzed a total of 14,300 births, coming from a large database that is registering birth defects in eight states, the so-called National Study for the Prevention of Birth Defects. Between 1997 and 2002, this research has stored all the information on 10,249 babies with birth defects and, for comparison, those of 4,065 healthy children. When comparing the weight of mothers before becoming pregnant, the authors have found that the fact that the mother was obese was related to seven birth defects of the 16 analyzed.
Fundamentally, obese women were twice as likely to have a child with spina bifida, a neural tube defect that occurs in one in every 1,000 births. Although to a lesser extent, six other defects were also associated with maternal obesity: heart defects, anorectal atresia (the opening of the anus is blocked), hypospadias (malformation of the urethra), limb defects (shortening or lack of fingers, legs or arms), diaphragmatic hernia (the abdominal organs 'migrate' into the thoracic cavity) and omphalocele (another type of hernia). Since no such relationship has ever been seen in these last four problems, the authors argue that "these associations should be interpreted with caution until confirmed by further studies."
Overweight mothers (without becoming obese) were also more likely to have children with heart defects, hypospadias, and omphalocele. In contrast, gastrochisis (another hernia, similar to omphalocele) was more common among women. underweight mothers. Although the causes of these findings are currently unknown, the authors believe that it could haveelation with glucose control. "A mechanism similar to that found in women with diabetes may be responsible for the observed associations between maternal obesity and certain birth defects," the researchers write.
As a result of these results, the editorialists of 'Archives' foresee that babies of obese mothers are at much more risk than the rest of the population and that, "with the current obesity epidemic, these findings may be precursors to a higher prevalence of birth defects in the future".
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