News article

Unhealthy weight during first pregnancy can influence future offspring

Posted:  Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Being overweight or underweight during your first pregnancy can haunt you even during your second pregnancy! Emerging research suggests that a woman’s weight during her first pregnancy bears an impact even on the second child.

Recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a Saint Louis University research analysed the data of 121,092 women in the Missouri maternally-linked birth registry between the years 1989-2005.

The findings indicated that unhealthy weight during the first pregnancy increased the risk for complications during the second pregnancy. And this was irrespective of the complications present during the first pregnancy or the woman’s weight during the second pregnancy.

Precisely speaking, there was a 20% and 40% increased chance of a preterm and small for gestational age infant, respectively during the second pregnancy, if a woman was underweight during the first pregnancy.

Likewise, women found to be overweight during their first pregnancy were 54% more likely to have a large for gestational age infant and a higher risk (156%) of experiencing preeclampsia. An increased risk (85%) of caesarean delivery and infant mortality (37%) within the first month of life was also observed.

Maya Tabet, first author on the paper concluded that, "Those women whose body mass index (BMI) was too high or too low during their first pregnancies should be carefully monitored during subsequent pregnancies. The long-term consequences for women who are at an unhealthy weight when they first become pregnant carry considerable public health implications."

Thus, it is best that women of childbearing age maintain a healthy body weight as the findings of this study clearly show that an unhealthy weight during first pregnancy has significant health repercussions.

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