Obese mothers risk babies' health

Tags: obesity , pregnancy

Obese mothers could be putting their babies' health at risk, according to new research.

Their newborns can show symptoms of heart disease soon after they are born.

Babies born to overweight mothers have thicker walls of the body's major artery - the aorta - than normal-sized female parents. This is a tell-tale sign of heart disease.

The study, published in the Foetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood, tested the body mass index (BMI) of women who were 16 weeks pregnant.

It then scanned their abdominal aorta - the part of the artery going down to the stomach - within a week of their babies coming into the world.

It was discovered that the artery walls were thicker in newborns born to overweight or obese mums.

British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Amy Thompson said the results may indicate a direct link between a mother's weight during pregnancy and her child's risk of cardiovascular disease.

But she said the sample of mothers (23) was too small to drew any firm conclusions.

She said that what is known for sure is that obesity during pregnancy can cause problems for both mother and unborn baby.

She added: "If you're thinking of starting a family and have concerns about your weight, try to eat healthily and keep active."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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