Health & Fitness

Swedish study shows that obese pregnant mums more likely to have cerebral palsy babies

A study has shown that overweight pregnant women are more likely to have babies who have cerebral palsy

Research in Sweden has shown that women who are obese or overweight whilst pregnant might be increasing the chances of their baby being born with cerebral palsy.

The study looked at nearly 1.5 million babies born in Sweden, and followed them over an eight-year period.

The findings were that babies carried to full term by overweight women were more likely to be born with cerebral palsy.

Babies born to overweight women were more likely to be born with cerebral palsy (Credit: Getty Images)

Researchers looked at 1,423,929 babies who were "singleton" births, i.e not a twin or triplet etc, by using the Swedish Medical Birth Register from 1997 until 2011.

Of that number, 3,029 of the children were found to have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Eduardo Villamor, lead researcher on the study and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, said: "The overall risk of cerebral palsy was about 2 cases per 1,000 babies born.

"Women with the most severe forms of obesity who have babies born at full term may have about twice that risk."

This means that women who are morbidly obese whilst pregnant could be putting their child's health at risk.

The study was following women who were overweight whilst pregnant, not who became overweight after birth (Credit: Getty Images)

However, Dr Villamor clarified that this was only found to be the case if women were overweight whilst pregnant.

He said: "Although the effect of maternal obesity on cerebral palsy may seem small compared with other risk factors, the association is of public health relevance due to the large proportion of women who are overweight or obese worldwide."

He added: "Although we don't know yet if this also applies to cerebral palsy, weight loss before pregnancy among overweight and obese women may offer some health benefits during and after pregnancy."

According to the NHS, cerebral palsy is: "The general term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. Neurological conditions are caused by problems in the brain and nervous system.

"Specifically, cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth."

Have you or a loved one ever been overweight whilst pregnant? Did the baby have any serious health issues? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

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