More Induced Preterm Births in Obese Moms

HAMILTON, Ontario, July 22 (UPI) — Mothers-to-be who are overweight and obese have more preterm births than others, researchers in Canada found.

Sarah McDonald of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 84 studies — involving more than 1 million women. The researchers suggested women be counseled before pregnancy about the risks associated with being overweight.

Overall, the risk of preterm birth before 37 weeks was not significantly different among overweight or obese women vs. normal weight women, the researchers said.

However, there was a 30 percent increased risk of induced preterm birth before 37 weeks among overweight or obese women, after accounting for publication bias — the tendency for studies to be published only if results are positive.

Overweight or obese women also had a higher risk of early preterm birth before 32 or 33 weeks — with very obese women at 82 percent greater risk than normal weight women, the researchers said.

“Clinicians need to be aware that maternal overweight or obesity is not protective against low birth weight and consider surveillance when indicated,” the study authors said in a statement.

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