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"women who are obese at the time of conception have a much higher incidence of birth defects" so saith R4 this am.

(123 Posts)
CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 08:51:50

A study of 10,000 obese mothers and 5.000 non-obese mothers apparently showed a significantly higher incidence of certain defects, specifically they said Spina Bifida, heart problems and missing toes, fingers etc.

More info here

"Children born to obese women had a 40 percent increased risk for heart defects and more than double the odds of spina bifida."

Have women on mn found this to be the case?

FioFio Tue 07-Aug-07 08:55:29

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FioFio Tue 07-Aug-07 08:56:27

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bagpuss Tue 07-Aug-07 08:56:41

Well ds1 has a heart defect and I wasn't obese when I conceived him. dd and ds2 are both very healthy despite me being a few stone overweight when I conceived them both.

nailpolish Tue 07-Aug-07 08:58:17

surely this needs further investigating. being obese cant be the sole reason, surely, and must be linked to other weight-related issues

its all very sad

margoandjerry Tue 07-Aug-07 08:58:30

oooh fat people. how awful. they also cause wars and turn milk sour.

there may well be something in it but how does it help? obesity is very, very difficult to deal with and is increasingly recognised as more complex than previously thought. what's the proposal - fat people shouldn't have children?

I'm sure it's a scientific study and all but really, how does it help anyone?

LizP Tue 07-Aug-07 08:59:51

But the increased risk meant that birth defects went from 3 in 100 births to 4 in 100 - so the majority of birth defects are still going to occur to 'normal' weight mothers. The report also said that they were going to do more studies to see if it was due to diet or the actual weight.

CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 09:01:15

It does say that if you take gestational diabetes out of the equation it is slightly lowered

I suppose how it helps is that it might encourage people to lose weight before conceiving - a bit like lots of people who can't normally lose weight are spurred on to do it before their wedding, I guess if they knew these facts the same might apply before conceiving.

I was in half a mind about posting this but it does seem a comprehensive study so I thought it was suitable

EscapeFrom Tue 07-Aug-07 09:01:39

Could this not be an age thing? Not meaning to cause offence, but the average 40 year old is heavier than the average 20 year old.

CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 09:02:30

I agree more likely to be due to poor diet.

Or maybe that obese people need more folic acid supplements than non-obese? Do they ask you to take double the supplements if you weigh twice as much as someone on one dose?

CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 09:02:52

It would be interesting to see the sample of women

nailpolish Tue 07-Aug-07 09:04:12

its very interesting, CD, and apart from the study, everyone knows that being obese is unhealthy, and even more unhealthy when you are pg

christ, you are breathless and tired enough as it is being pg, carrying extra weight at the same time must be exhausting.

but its like smoking, some people smoke during pg, some people wont lose weight. you ahve to want to do it


nailpolish Tue 07-Aug-07 09:05:43

folic acid is one of the things they recommend for spina bifida prevention isnt it? but its also genetically linked afaik, if you have one child with SB you have an increased chance of having another. afaik

forsale Tue 07-Aug-07 09:09:25

are they assuming the incubation of the embryo in an obese woman is where it all goes wrong or are teh eggs inferior? and what happens if the father is obese - does that affect the figures ?

lljkk Tue 07-Aug-07 09:10:14

It is helpful because if the mechanisms of why can be understood, some of the defects might be preventable. Also, it's a link with only 7 birth defects. Oh, and it's "only one study", needs more to confirm the link.

The higher risk for spina bifuda implies nutritional deficiency; could it be some women are fat because they don't metabolise vitamins correctly, so still feel hungry on what should be enough vitamins? Or could it be that when you're very fat you should take a double dose of folic acid in pregnancy? That could be helpful to know.

Also, (read on another link) excess weight gain during pregnancy isn't the problem, just being fat at conception.

nailpolish Tue 07-Aug-07 09:11:30

maybe they are obese because they dont eat the right foods, ie junk food with no fresh fruit and vegetables. so thereofre the baby doesnt get the correct nutrients.

EscapeFrom Tue 07-Aug-07 09:18:54

It also depends on where they draw the line at obese - Technically it's a BMI over 30, but my local midwife run centre is happy with you if you keep it under 35 and are active. They have more common sense than the charts allow for.

CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 09:20:14

or another thought
presumably if you are obese your body needs more nutrients just to function. So maybe you are taking all the nutrients and not enough get to the baby

I'm sure this will precipitate many more studies to try and answer these questions

CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 09:20:56

surely BMI charts don't apply when pregnant!

lljkk Tue 07-Aug-07 09:27:42

It's BMI at the time of conception they used as the measuring stick, CDrac. They also say exactly what BMI they meant by "obese" at this point, EscapeFrom.

nailpolish Tue 07-Aug-07 09:27:46

i always thought that the foods a pg woman eats - the baby gets first then the woman second (dibs at the nutrients iyswim!)

binklehasflipped Tue 07-Aug-07 09:29:18

I'm no expert but the only reason I can imagine this to be true is that the bloodflow round the body is compromised in obesity, thus affecting the flow of nutrients etc to the foetus.

nailpolish Tue 07-Aug-07 09:30:11

being obese brings on so many problems
heart has to work faster, circulation is not so good (congested arteries etc), lungs have to work harder, liver can be fatty, digestion sluggish, hormones can be affected, etc etc etc. its a complicated subject and even more complicated with a pregnancy thrown in

CountessDracula Tue 07-Aug-07 09:33:53

So i guess the only thing that can be done is to edcucate people about the possible consequences and let them make their own minds up as to whether to lose weight before conceiving.

I realise it is not nice for obese people, but then food is often an emotional crutch like cigarettes and they put pretty uncompromising warnings on the packets about cigarettes.

lljkk Tue 07-Aug-07 09:36:15

The video report on CBS website said:

3% of healthy weight women at conception had babies with major birth defects -- is that right? Much higher than I knew!

Whereas 4% of obese (at conception) women had babies with major birth defects.

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