{M}aternal obesity and morbid obesity: the risk for birth defects in the offspring.

  • Blomberg M
  • Källén B
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BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to assess, in a large
data set from Swedish Medical Health Registries, whether maternal
obesity and maternal morbid obesity were associated with an increased
risk for various structural birth defects. METHODS: The study population
consisted of 1,049,582 infants born in Sweden from January 1, 1995,
through December 31, 2007, with known maternal weight and height
data. Women were grouped in six categories of body mass index (BMI)
according to World Health Organization classification. Infants with
congenital birth defects were identified from three sources: the
Swedish Medical Birth Registry, the Register of Birth Defects, and
the National Patient Register. Maternal age, parity, smoking, and
year of birth were thought to be potential confounders and were included
as covariates in the adjusted odds ratio analyses. RESULTS: Ten percent
of the study population was obese. Morbid obesity (BMI > or = 40)
occurred in 0.7%. The prevalence of congenital malformations was
4.7%, and the prevalence of relatively severe malformations was
3.2%. Maternal prepregnancy morbid obesity was associated with neural
tube defects OR 4.08 (95% CI 1.87-7.75), cardiac defects OR 1.49
(95% CI 1.24-1.80), and orofacial clefts OR 1.90 (95% CI 1.27-2.86).
Maternal obesity (BMI > or = 30) significantly increased the risk
of hydrocephaly, anal atresia, hypospadias, cystic kidney, pes equinovarus,
omphalocele, and diaphragmatic hernia. CONCLUSION: The risk for a
morbidly obese pregnant woman to have an infant with a congenital
birth defect is small, but for society the association is important
in the light of the ongoing obesity epidemic.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescent; Adult; Body Mass Index; Congenital Abn
  • Morbid
  • Newborn; Maternal Age; Middle Aged; Obesity
  • complications; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications
  • epidemiology; Young Adult
  • etiology; Female; Humans; Infant

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  • Marie I Blomberg

  • Bengt Källén

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