Prepregnancy BMI May Affect Cerebral Palsy Risk in Offspring

Some women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy may face a slight increased risk of having an infant with cerebral palsy, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in Pediatrics.

Ingeborg Forthun, a doctoral student at the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues analyzed data on 188,788 children from national data in Norway and Denmark. Women's prepregnancy body mass index was grouped into those who were underweight, lower-normal weight, upper-normal weight, overweight, and obese.

Within the two countries, 390 cases of cerebral palsy were documented. The researchers found that mothers in the upper-normal weight group had a 40 percent greater risk of having a baby with cerebral palsy compared to those in the lower-normal weight group. Excess risk was 60 percent for both overweight and obese mothers. Results were consistent when adjusted for occupation, age, and smoking status.

"Even though an increased risk for overweight women of 60 percent seems high, the risk of having a baby with cerebral palsy is still very low," Forthun told HealthDay.

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