Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Maternal Obesity Prior To Pregnancy Associated With Birth Defects

Date:
August 9, 2007
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Mothers of babies born with some structural birth defects -- including missing limbs, malformed hearts and underdeveloped spinal cords -- appear more likely to be obese prior to becoming pregnant than mothers whose children are born without such defects, according to a new article.

Mothers of babies born with some structural birth defects--including missing limbs, malformed hearts and underdeveloped spinal cords--appear more likely to be obese prior to becoming pregnant than mothers whose children are born without such defects, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Overweight and obese women are known to be at risk for chronic diseases, infertility, irregular menstruation and complications during pregnancy, according to background information in the article. In 2003 and 2004, about 51 percent of women aged 20 to 39 were classified as overweight or obese.

D. Kim Waller, Ph.D., of the University of Texas, Houston, and colleagues interviewed 10,249 women in eight states whose babies were born with birth defects between 1997 and 2002. The women were contacted between six weeks and 24 months after the baby's birth and asked for their height and weight before pregnancy, along with other demographic and medical information. These women were compared with 4,065 women who had babies without birth defects during the same time period.

Mothers of babies with the following seven of 16 birth defects were more likely to be obese than mothers of infants without birth defects:

  • Spina bifida, a condition that occurs when part of the spinal cord is uncovered, causing incontinence and problems with mobility
  • Heart defects
  • Anorectal atresia, malformation of the anal opening
  • Hypospadias, which occurs when the urethra opens on the underside instead of the end of the penis
  • Limb reduction defects, such as small or missing toes, fingers, arms or legs
  • Diaphragmatic hernia, or an opening in the diaphragm that allows abdominal organs to move into the chest cavity and may cause lungs to be underdeveloped
  • Omphalocele, in which the intestines or other abdominal organs protrude out through the navel

Mothers of babies with gastroschisis, which is similar to omphalocele but involves organs protruding through a defect in the abdominal wall that is not the navel, were significantly less likely to be obese than mothers of babies without birth defects.

"The reasons for an association between maternal obesity and a spectrum of structural birth defects are unknown," the authors write. "Both animal studies and human studies provide substantial evidence that alterations in glycemic control are responsible for an increased risk of a range of structural birth defects among women who have diabetes prior to becoming pregnant. Thus, a similar mechanism to that occurring in women with diabetes may be responsible for the associations observed between maternal obesity and specific categories of birth defects."

Women with type 2 diabetes were excluded from the study, and when the analysis was performed also excluding women with gestational diabetes, the results were similar. However, undiagnosed cases of type 2 or gestational diabetes may have affected the results.

"Our study supports previous evidence as well as provides new evidence for the associations between maternal obesity and particular categories of birth defects," the authors conclude. "Future inquiries are needed to unravel the underlying reasons for these associations."

Reference: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(8):745-750.

This study was supported through a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Texas Department of State Health Services Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. Co-authors Drs. Rasmussen and Correa work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Maternal Obesity Prior To Pregnancy Associated With Birth Defects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070806164539.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2007, August 9). Maternal Obesity Prior To Pregnancy Associated With Birth Defects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070806164539.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Maternal Obesity Prior To Pregnancy Associated With Birth Defects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070806164539.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins