Aug. 14, 2012 -- Women who are overweight or obese at the start of pregnancy are much more likely than healthy-weight women to deliver large babies, according to new research.
That's true, the researchers found, even if the women did not develop gestational diabetes, a known risk factor for delivering large babies.
In the past, researchers have focused on gestational diabetes -- diabetes that develops during pregnancy -- as a risk factor for having a large baby, says researcher Mary Helen Black, PhD, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.
Now it appears that overweight and obesity play at least as important a role as gestational diabetes in the risk of delivering a large baby. "And that is important because infants born too large for gestational age are at all sort of increased risk for other complications, including obesity later in life," Black says.