ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Eat Light - Live Longer
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems

(HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese women are more likely to give birth to babies with heart defects, a new study has found.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers analyzed data on 6,440 infants with congenital heart defects and 5,673 infants without heart defects whose mothers took part in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

Women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy were about 18 percent more likely than normal weight women to have a baby with certain kinds of heart defects, including obstructive defects on the right side of the heart and defects in the tissue that separates the two upper chambers of the heart. Severely obese women had a 30 percent increased risk compared to normal weight women, the study authors noted.

In reaching their findings, the researchers accounted for several important heart defect factors, including the mother's age and race/ethnicity. Women with diabetes before they became pregnant were excluded because diabetes in the mother is a strong risk factor for infant heart defects.

The study was published online Oct. 1 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"These results support previous studies, as well as provide additional evidence, that there is an association between a woman being overweight or obese before pregnancy and certain types of heart defects," primary study author Suzanne Gilboa, an epidemiologist at CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in an agency news release.

"This provides another reason for women to maintain a healthy weight. In addition to the impact on a woman's own health and the known pregnancy complications associated with maternal obesity, the baby's health could be at risk," Gilboa added.

"Congenital heart defects are the most common types of birth defect, and among all birth defects, they are a leading cause of illness, death, and medical expenditures," Dr. Edwin Trevathan, director of CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in the news release. "Women who are obese and who are planning a pregnancy could benefit by working with their physicians to achieve a healthy weight before pregnancy."

The study is the largest effort ever undertaken in the United States to identify risk factors for birth defects, the CDC said.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 1, 2009 Published on: October 01, 2009