Obese pregnant women are at increased risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect, a new study finds.
The study was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Lose weight before pregnancy
"The current findings strongly suggest that by losing weight before they become pregnant, obese women may reduce the chances that their infants will be born with heart defects," Dr Alan E. Guttmacher, acting director of the NICHD, said.
For this study, researchers compared the records of mothers of 7 392 children born with major heart defects and more than 56 000 mothers of infants born without birth defects. Because the study looked at the records of infants after they were born, it doesn't conclusively prove that obese women who lose weight before becoming pregnant will reduce their risk of having a baby with a heart defect, the researchers noted.