Pre-pregnancy obesity ups autism risk in newborns

Washington: Women beware! Being overweight or obese before getting pregnant can increase the risk of developing autism or behavioural problems in newborns, a recent study warns.

The findings suggested that autism risk increased up to 36 percent and Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADHD) risk increased up to 62 percent for the babies of obese women.

They also found that obese mothers had a 50 percent higher risk of having a child with any kind of neurodevelopmental disorders, while overweight women had a 17 percent higher risk.

Senior author Dr. Bernard Fuemmeler from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia said that prenatal exposure to environmental toxins, stress and nutrition have all been linked to neurodevelopmental outcomes in children.

They reviewed 1,483 participants on pregnancy weight and neurodevelopmental delays.

The results suggested that 58 percent increased risk of developmental delay and a 42 percent increased risk of emotional or behavioural problems among children of obese women.

Being obese during pregnancy also increases the risk of gestational diabetes that has been linked to lower cognitive test scores and behavioral problems and premature births.

Researchers from Duke University Medical Center reviewed all the studies looked at a mother’s pregnancy weight and neurodevelopment problems in their child.

Fuemmeler noted that the results show that children born to mothers who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of neurodevelopmental problems, including ADHD, ASD, greater emotional/behavioural problems and cognitive delay.

They also found that that the children, who were born to normal weight mothers during their pregnancy, the risk for any adverse neurodevelopmental outcome was 17 percent higher among children to mothers who were overweight prior to their pregnancy.

The research appears in the journal Obesity Reviews. (ANI)