Research Alleges Link Between Maternal Obesity and Birth Defects
A recent meta-analysis and systematic review of medical literature has suggested that obese women are more likely to have children affected by structural abnormalities such as tube defects, spina bifida, cardiovascular anomalies, septal anomalies, cleft palate, cleft lip and palate, anorectal atresia, hydrocephaly, and limb reduction anomalies. Katherine J. Stothard, et al., “Maternal Overweight and Obesity and the Risk of Congenital Anomalies,” Journal of the American Medical Association, February 11, 2009. British researchers looked at 1,944 potential articles, ultimately including 39 articles in the systematic review and 18 in the meta-analysis. The results indicated that the children of obese women had double the risk of spina bifida and nearly twice the risk of other neural tube defects, as well as increased chances of heart defects, cleft palate, and problems with limb growth. “Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of a range of structural abnormalities,
although the absolute increase is likely to be small,” according to the study, which recommended further research to determine whether overweight women experience similar pregnancy complications. See Reuters, February 10, 2009.