Babies born to obese mothers are more likely to face complications as newborns, a new US study finds.
There may be complications for the baby even when the mother doesn’t have high blood pressure or diabetes, Reuters reports.
Results of the study were reported in in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
As obstetricians, we have the unique responsibility of thinking about multiple lives, such as the woman carrying the pregnancy and the fetus developing in the womb,” said study leader Dr. Brock Polnaszek of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in an email to Reuters Health.
Research results3,311 obese women and 3,147 non-obese women who had full-term vaginal deliveries were studied None of them had diabetes or hypertension.
About nine percent of the babies of obese mothers had complications, compared to about seven percent of infants born to non-obese womenq the research team found.
The newborns of obese patients were more likely to have signs and symptoms suggesting a dangerous form of infection called sepsis. But while babies of obese mothers were more likely to appear sick enough for sepsis to be a possibility, bacteria culture tests showed actual sepsis rates didn’t differ between the groups, the authors note.
Some risks, such as stillbirth, were attributed in the past to diabetes but have been shown to be complications of pre-pregnancy obesity instead,” said Dr. Isaac Blickstein of Kaplan Medical Center and Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem, Israel. Blickstein, who wasn’t involved with this study, researches risks related to maternal obesity.
Because obesity is an inflammatory disease, it can alter the fetal environment, the study authors wrote. This could be exacerbated by the additional effects of strained labor. In the current study, obese women were more likely to be induced, have a prior cesarean delivery, have a prolonged first stage of labor, and need oxytocin during labor. Babies of obese mothers also had higher birth weight.