Overweight Pregnancy Increases Risk of Heart Disease in Infants

Being overweight or obese during pregnancy, has been associated with the risk of pregnancy and birth defects in infants. Recent studies have even shown that women who are overweight may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in the baby later.

The study involved a group of pregnant women, average age 35, who have been followed since the age of 16 weeks of pregnancy until delivery. Ten babies born with male sex and had birth weights ranged from 1.85 kg to 4.31 kg.

Every newborn to the age of 7 days, examined closely in the stomach aorta, which is part of the artery that extends to the abdomen. The goal is to determine the thickness of the two inner walls, the intima-media.

Intima-media thickness ranged from 0.65 to 0.97 mm and it is associated with maternal weight during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are overweight are more likely to have babies with the thickness of the intima-media thickness, regardless of the weight babies weighed at birth.

Early physical signs of an increased risk of heart disease is the development of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) in the abdominal aorta.

"Intima-media thickness of the aorta is considered to be a non-invasive way to determine vascular health in children," said Michael Skilton from Sydney University, who led the study, as reported by Health India, Saturday (03/02/2013) .

This might explain how excess weight during pregnancy, may affect the risk of subsequent children have an increased risk for heart disease and stroke later in life. The results were published in the journal fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood.