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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Big Babies May Boost Mom's Breast Cancer Risk

Study Suggests Hormones May Play a Role

Understanding Risks for Oversized Babies continued...

Her advice to women who have had large babies is to talk to their doctor about things they can do today to lower their risk of breast cancer. "This information may also be used to make decisions on how and when you should be screened for breast cancer."

Ashley S. Roman, MD, agrees that the size of a baby at birth is not always within a pregnant woman's control. Roman is a clinical assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Having a big baby is not healthy for the mom or the infant. "Babies who are born too big may be at greater risk for obesity and diabetes," she says. "Now we have to think about how this affects the long-term health of the mother."

Risks for having large babies include:

"Some of these are modifiable," Roman says. For example, "if you are obese, losing weight prior to getting pregnant may help make sure your baby is not born too large, as can avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy."

Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.

Maintaining a normal weight also helps lower a woman's overall risk for breast cancer, as does getting regular exercise. Some studies suggest that breastfeeding, too, may decrease breast cancer risk.

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