Being overweight in pregnancy linked to infant risk of cerebral palsy

26 April 2017

A study of Swedish women has associated being overweight or obese in pregnancy with a higher infant risk of cerebral palsy.

Researchers from the University of Michigan looked at data from close to 1.5 million women with children born in Sweden between 1997 and 2011 – 3029 of whom were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Their paper, published in JAMA, reports a ‘statistically significant’ link between mothers being overweight or obese and an increasing risk of cerebral palsy in children born at full term.

Dr Eduardo Villamor, lead researcher on the study and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, said: ‘The overall risk of cerebral palsy was about two cases per 1000 babies born.

‘Women with the most severe level of obesity, who have babies born at full term, may have about twice that risk.’

The authors argue that although the eff ect may seem small compared with other risk factors, it is relevant due to the prevalence of obesity among the population.

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