Babies of fat women face problems at birth
Feb 7, 2006 - 2:52:37 AM

Pregnant women should exercise and take appropriate caloric intake before they go for conception, as the babies of obese mothers are more likely to be admitted to intensive care units, says a study.

Such babies also have a higher incidence of neural tube defects, according to a position paper of the Public Affairs Committee of the Teratology Society, reported health portal

"The literature suggests that compared to normal weight women, women whose body mass index (BMI) is greater than or equal to 30 have approximately double the risk of having an affected child."

While weight reduction surgery can improve the health and fertility of fat women, the committee does not make a recommendation regarding surgery.

The committee recommends that clinicians counsel pregnant women about appropriate caloric intake and exercise before they go for conception.

Obesity afflicts men and women of all ages across the United States and it is on the rise. Among women aged 20 to 39, more than half are overweight and nearly a third are obese, according to official statistics.

Obese women face several health disorders, including increased risk of infertility and problems during pregnancy, hypertension and gestational diabetes. They are also more likely to need a caesarean section, it said.

One French study found that overweight women had higher prenatal medical costs, and spent more time in the hospital recovering from childbirth.

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