A new study shows that heavier women run a higher risk of preterm birth, reports WebMD. The study adds to a growing understanding of the pregnancy risks associated with being overweight, which also affects fertility and the probability of miscarriage.
The latest meta-study, which pooled data from 84 other studies, concluded that the greater the mother’s weight, the more likely she is to deliver before 32 weeks of gestation. “Thirty-two weeks is a really important benchmark in pregnancy,” study researcher Sarah D. McDonald, MD. “Babies born this early are much more likely to be sick and they tend to spend a much longer time in the nursery.”
Compared to normal-weight women, overweight women are 15 percent more likely to give birth prematurely, obese women are 50 percent more likely and very obese women are 80 percent more likely. In response to the new body of research and rise of obesity among women of childbearing age, the Institute of Medicine has for the first time put an upper limit on recommended weight gain during pregnancy.