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Link found between maternal obesity and cerebral palsy

Swedish study has discovered an increased incidence of cerebral palsy is associated with obesity in pregnancy.

A Swedish study has discovered an increased incidence of cerebral palsy is associated with obesity in pregnancy


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Neonatal and obstetric care has seen vast advances in the last ten years. However, despite the improvements made in these areas, the incidence of cerebral palsy has risen.

Obesity in pregnancy can cause risks with preterm delivery, congenital malformations and neonatal breathing complications, all of which increase the risk of cerebral palsy.

Through examining national birth registers of 1,423,929 children it was found that more than 3,000 had cerebral palsy. In 71% of the cases of children with cerebral palsy their mothers had higher maternal body mass indexes of 25 BMI or more.

This is significant, but maternal obesity may not be the only reason for the sharp rise in cases of cerebral palsy.

Obesity can be linked to many other psychosocial issues which may have some relevance to the findings. The research, however, is noteworthy.

The links between cerebral palsy and obesity levels must be explored further and the increase in cerebral palsy researched to fully understand this trend.

One would expect that, with the medical advances we have seen over the last ten years, that the incidence rates of cerebral palsy would fall. 

Stacey Atkinson is matron/manager-inpatient services for people with learning disabilities and lead nurse, St Mary's Hospital, Leeds


Villamor E et al (2017) Association between material body mass index in early pregnancy and incidence of cerebral palsy. JAMA. 317, 9, 925.

 

 

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