Obese moms-to-be up preterm birth risk

Dec. 1, 2006 at 6:41 PM
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GLASGOW, Scotland, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Obese first-time pregnant women are at an increased risk for preterm birth because they are more likely to have complications, says a Scottish study.

Researchers studied 187,290 women in Scotland and analyzed their body mass index to determine categories of overweight, obese and morbidly obese mothers. For first-time moms, being morbidly obese, with a BMI of 35 or greater, increased the overall risk of preterm birth, according to the researchers.

This led to three-fold increased risks of a neonatal death and delivering an extremely low-birth-weight baby, a major risk factor for cerebral palsy.

Yet once a woman has given birth to a child, obesity doesn't appear to affect preterm birth risk for her other children, according to the study published in the American Journal of Public Health under "First Look" and will appear in the January print issue.

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