Scientists are warning about a new risk that overweight pregnant people might be taking for their unborn baby. Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at children born in Sweden from 1997-2011 and found that overweight moms put their babies at higher risk for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects one in every 400 births in the US and the UK. Out of the children who were born as part of this study, 3029 children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy out of 1.4 million.

Professor Villamor said, ‘The number of women with a BMI of 35 or more globally doubled from approximately 50 to 100 million from 2000 through 2010. In the US, approximately half of all pregnant women have overweight or obesity at the first prenatal visit. Considering the high prevalence of obesity and the continued rise of its most severe forms, the finding that maternal overweight and obesity are related to rates of cerebral palsy in a dose-response manner may have serious public health implications.”

Researchers have also shown that children are more likely to put on weight if their parents were overweight before they were born.

These are certainly considerations that women should take into account as they think about their health and reproductive future.