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Study: Obese mothers at increased risk of giving birth to babies with heart defects

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

According to a new study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese pregnant women are at a greater risk of giving birth to a child with a congenital heart defect than are those of a healthy weight.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development compared 7,392 mothers of children born with heart defects to nearly 60,000 women who gave birth to healthy children, according to Health Day News.

They found that women who were clinically obese before becoming pregnant had, on average, a 15 percent increased risk of having a baby with a major heart defect. Furthermore, the investigators discovered that morbidly obese pregnant women had a near 34 percent greater risk compared to normal-weight women.

"If a woman is obese, it makes sense for her to try to lose weight before becoming pregnant," said study author James Mills. "Not only will weight loss improve her own health and that of her infant, it is likely to have the added benefit of reducing the infant's risk for heart defects."

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