A study of 385 obese British and Dutch women found that 18.8% had a low birth weight, compared to the normal 10%. Conversely, 13.4% of the babies were overweight, where as the normal figure is again 10%. More worryingly, 11.7% of the women developed pre-eclampsia, with the national figure at around 2%, an in obese women who have already had a child it is still only 6%. Pre-eclampsia was also found to be more likely the higher the level of obesity.
The study was run by Wellcome Trust and the Biomedical Research Centre, at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation and funded by baby charity Tommy’s.
Lucilla Poston who led the study said: “We must now start to consider first-time pregnancy as an additional problem in obese pregnant women,” she said. “The large proportion of small babies was particularly unexpected, as obesity is more often associated with the birth of overweight babies.”