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Women who eat too much can increase risk of miscarriage and babies born with low birth weights

Introduction

Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have a miscarriage than women who are lean, according to a new study.

Key points:The study found women who eat two or more calories a day were more than three times as likely to miscarry compared with women who ate two or fewer caloriesA diet high in fat and sugar, such as the kind popularised by the American diet fad, is linked to a higher risk of premature birthA baby born with a low birth weight has a much higher risk than one born with an average weightA study of more than 12,000 babies born in Australia has found they are born with birth defects that have been linked to obesity.

Key Points:Women who are obese have a higher likelihood of miscarriage compared with those who are thinA study suggests eating too much may increase the risk of a miscarriageThe study, published in the Australian Medical Journal, compared the risk for a baby born to obese women and thin women with that for a normal-weight baby.

The researchers found that, for every extra calorie a woman consumed per day, she had a two-and-a-half-fold higher risk.

They also found that the risk rose for a thinner woman compared to a heavier one.

The study did not look at whether the weight loss itself was linked to the risk.

However, the authors did say the results showed there was a relationship between an increase in body mass index (BMI) and miscarriage risk.

“The results of this study support the idea that obesity may have an effect on miscarriage risk, which is consistent with a recent meta-analysis of clinical trials on this topic,” the researchers said.

“This association is not necessarily attributable to differences in BMI and is therefore consistent with other clinical studies that have found obesity and miscarriage to be risk factors for miscarriage.”

The researchers also said the findings were consistent with the theory that the body’s immune system is to blame for miscarriage.

“Although the body may respond to low-calorie diets by increasing the production of antibodies against certain proteins, such that the immune system may be unable to recognize these proteins, this does not appear to be the case in the context of obesity,” they said.

Dr Katherine Farrar, from the Australian Institute of Family Studies at the University of Adelaide, said the study showed the body had an “implicit” role in determining the outcome of miscarriage.

She said: “What this study really shows is that the way we respond to a low-nutrient diet may be different for people with obesity than those with normal weight.”

“In the short term, this is really good news for those who choose to eat less, especially when the risk is so low.”

But in the long term, there are many risks associated with this diet, such a high-fat diet, and in particular the risk that low-carbohydrate diets may cause obesity.

“Dr Farral said there were two main ways to reduce the risk from a miscarriage: reduce calories consumed by the mother, and decrease the amount of carbohydrates eaten by the baby.”

When you reduce calories by the mom, the baby has fewer carbohydrates available for the body to absorb and utilise,” she said.

But she warned that not everyone would be as concerned about a low carb diet.”

If the baby is a healthy weight, that will also mean that the mother is not consuming the right amount of sugar, which would be good for her as well,” she added.”

What’s important is that we’re getting the right nutrition from a healthy diet, so if you’re pregnant and you want to reduce your calories you can reduce those calories from a low calorie diet.

“Topics:baby-andbabies,health,pregnancy-and/or-childbirth,fertility-and,maternal-and_infant,nutrition,mortality-act,family-and%E2%80%99-diseases,australiaFirst posted February 14, 2020 10:04:49Contact Sarah McBrideMore stories from Australia

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