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Obesity and Risks of Birth Defects
Risks of Heart Abnormality in Babies Born to Obese Mothers
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Obesity & Risks of Birth Defects

Obese and overweight women face significantly increased risks of having babies with heart abnormalities and other birth defects, according to a government study.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said their study also confirmed an already reported link between pre-pregnancy obesity and neural tube birth defects including spina bifida.

The links between weight and other defects, including debilitating heart problems, have been less well established, the researchers said.

Compared with normal-weight women, those who were obese or overweight before pregnancy faced double the risk of having babies with heart defects and double the risk of multiple birth defects, the study said.

"This is yet another adverse health outcome associated with overweight and obesity and people need to know that," said CDC epidemiologist Margaret Watkins. "Obesity prevention efforts are needed to increase the number of women who are at a healthy weight before they become pregnant."

Watkins said normally 3 to 5 percent of infants are born with major birth defects.

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