ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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