Moms' weight, blood sugar endanger babies

April 11, 2012 at 11:34 PM
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CHICAGO, April 11 (UPI) -- Women who are just above average for weight and blood sugar are at a higher risk of bad pregnancy outcomes than previously known, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Boyd Metzger of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said these are women have not been on researchers' radar because they don't have gestational diabetes and aren't obese. But he said the study by his team of researchers shows expectant mothers with elevated blood-sugar levels put their babies at higher risk that had been thought.

"We need to address the combination of overweight and blood sugar of these women as urgently as we do for women who are obese or have gestational diabetes," Metzger, the principle investigator who also is a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said in a statement.

The study included 23,316 women from nine countries who were part of the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study. Obese women made up 16 percent of the study, those with gestational diabetes accounted for 13.7 percent and those overweight with moderately elevated blood sugar were 6 percent.

One of the adverse outcomes for these mothers was having large babies and an increased likelihood of needing a Caesarean section.

The study found when the mothers are obese and have gestational diabetes, the babies weigh 12 ounces more than babies of mothers with normal weight and blood sugar. When the mothers are overweight (but not obese) with above-average blood sugar levels, the babies weigh 7.5 ounces more. Mothers of normal weight but with gestational diabetes have babies who weigh almost 5.8 ounces more. Obese mothers with normal glucose levels had babies with an increased weight of about 6 ounces.

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