ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
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ANIMAL CARE
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Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
CANCER
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Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
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The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
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Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
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School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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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