Overweight mothers-to-be are at greater risk of losing their baby, experts have warned. According to researchers at Imperial College London, pregnant women with a high body mass index (BMI) are putting their baby's life in danger, with the rate of miscarriage, stillbirth and infant deaths higher.
In a review of 38 separate studies, the researchers found that severely obese women are at the greatest risk, but even being slightly overweight could put the health of the baby at risk. As well as complications during pregnancy, babies born to overweight women are at greater risk of developing diabetes later in life.
A healthy BMI is 20 to 24.9, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, while anything over 30 is considered obese. The risk for those with a BMI of 40 was found to be two and 3.5 times higher than that of a healthy weight woman.
However, experts insist that weight loss dieting during pregnancy is never recommended, and stressed the importance of being "fit for pregnancy" prior to conceiving.
Lead researcher Dr Dagfinn Aune, whose report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said: "Weight management guidelines for women who plan pregnancies should take these findings into consideration to reduce the burden of foetal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths."
The latest figures show that an estimated 15 per cent of British mothers are obese during pregnancy, but regular weight checks were abandoned in the 1990s, with expectant women now only weighed at their first antenatal check.
What do you think? Should more be done to educate women about the risks of being overweight during pregnancy? Leave your comments below...