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Excess Weight, Diabetes Raise Risk of Big Babies

Even Overweight Women Without Gestational Diabetes at Risk of Delivering Large Babies, Researchers Found

Weight, Diabetes, and Large Babies: Perspective continued...

Large babies carry risks for  mother and infant, Wu says. "For the babies, there is the risk of the shoulders getting stuck [during delivery]. For the mothers, there are more risks of cesarean section or large lacerations with vaginal delivery." Babies born too large are also at increased risk of having birth defects and breathing problems, and some studies have found links to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease later in life.

What isn't clear from either study, Retnakaran says, is how much excess weight is too much.

For that reason, he says, the best advice for now is this: "Women should be looking at entering pregnancy at their ideal weight." A healthy weight is defined as a body mass index or BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.

A 5-foot-4-inch woman who weighs 120 pounds has a BMI of 20.6, for instance.

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