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Weight loss BEFORE pregnancy can reduce infant death

Being a healthy weight before being pregnant, whilst gaining an appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy, reduces the risk of the baby dying in its first year. This comes from a study by the Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health that explored the effect of weight counselling in women of a reproductive age. Dr Lisa Bodnar explained that ‘a third of women begin their pregnancy at an unhealthy weight, whilst over half gain too much or too little during pregnancy’.

The study looked at data from 1.2 million births from 2003 to 2011, which included 5,530 infant deaths (defined as a death before the first birthday). They found that in all weight classes, other than severely obese, gaining less than, or more than, the recommended weight increased the risk of infant death. However, even those that were obese and lost weight for their pregnancy were found to have twice the risk of infant death. However the study showed that it was much safer to lose weight before becoming pregnant, in order to reduce the risk of infant death.

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