ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
CANCER
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Eating Free Range
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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