Overweight mothers deliver larger babies, says study

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If you are planning a pregnancy soon, abstain from overeating because an overweight mother will give birth to a large baby, putting both at risk

If you are planning a pregnancy anytime soon, you might want to abstain from overeating, because a new research has proved that overweight women deliver larger babies.

The study, published by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA),  was led by researchers at the British universities of Bristol and Exeter.

What the study says

The researchers examined 30,000 women through a set of 18 studies and made the following observations:

  • The genetic variants that are associated with a woman's body mass index (BMI), blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels affects the birth weight of the baby
  • A four-point higher BMI for mothers results in a 54 grams higher birth weight for babies
  • There is a correlation between higher glucose levels in mothers' blood and higher birth weights
  • There is also a correlation between higher blood pressure in mothers and lower birth weights

However, the lipids, or fat levels, in mothers' blood do not appear to affect baby sizes.

Speaking to media houses, Rachel Freathy of the University of Exeter Medical School, who co-wrote the report says, "Being born very large or very small can carry health risks for a newborn baby, particularly when that's at the extreme end of the spectrum."

She also added that mothers with high blood sugar or diabetes, even within a healthy range, also tend to have bigger babies.

How does being overweight put a baby at risk?

If a baby is large or more than 4.5 kg, his shoulders can become trapped under the mother's pelvic bone. This can result in damaged neck nerve and even broken arms.

How to maintain optimum weight during pregnancy?

Expecting mothers are usually advised to check with their doctors to know their optimum weight during pregnancy. The best way, however, is to have a balanced diet and to exercise in order to abstain from becoming overweight.

Delhi-based, fitness expert, Kiran Sawhney, spoke to theIndusparent about maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.

"Expecting mothers must go slow and adopt a holistic approach towards fitness. They must exercise on a daily basis but not overdo or rush themselves into it. It's important to bring about a lifestyle change, so eat right, sleep on time and enjoy the workout," she says.

Apart from regular exercises, expecting mothers are also advised to practice yoga, which corrects posture, strengthens joints and increases flexibility, increases blood circulation, dispels gas, and paves way for easy labour and delivery.
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