Infant Mortality Rises With Maternal Weight Gain
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, February 09, 2016 12:00 AM

Weight and pregnancy.  There is a correlation between increased weight and infant death. 

Women who gained a large amount of weight between pregnancies were at increased risk for infant death and stillbirth, a large population-based study in Sweden found.

Those whose BMI increased by at least four units after a first pregnancy were more likely to experience infant mortality or stillbirth in a second pregnancy compared to women whose weight remained stable.  There were significant interactions between BMI in the first pregnancy and weight change in terms of infant and neonatal mortality.

But even women who gained a smaller amount of weight had a larger risk of infant mortality than women whose weight remained stable. Women with a previously healthy weight, who gained two to more than four BMI units during pregnancy, had a greater risk of infant death compared to women whose weight remained stable.

Not only is there risk of stillbirth and newborn death, there is gene modification in the babies who are born. We know of at least 15-20 genes that get modified due to obesity and we see intergenerational transmittal of obesity patterns. Also many of these babies have birth defects, such as neural tube defects. We also increase the rate of diabetes from one generation to another this report states.

By contrast, overweight women who lost more than two BMI between their first and second pregnancies had a reduced risk of neonatal mortality. Normal weight women who lost the same amount of weight between pregnancies had an increased risk of neonatal mortality. However, there was no effect on mortality risk in overweight women who gained no weight between pregnancies.