Babies of obese mothers at higher mortality risk

OBESITY in pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of the baby dying in the womb or up to one year after birth, a study shows.

Researchers have estimated the absolute risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death to be 7.6 per 1000 singleton births greater among obese women than among women with the recommended BMI.

Optimal maternal BMI “for the child, at least” would be somewhere around 23 kg/m², the British team said after reviewing data on 40,000 pregnancies.

Data on pregnancies from 2002 to 2005 at five hospitals were linked with data from three surveys to determine ratios of spontaneous fetal death and infant death among underweight, overweight and obese women.

Except for higher rates of pre-eclampsia among stillbirths, no specific cause of death could explain the increased odds of fetal and infant death among the obese mothers, the researchers said.

“Given the rising prevalence of obesity in the