-- Randy Dotinga
MONDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Obese pregnant women may have
a harder time fighting off infections than leaner women do, new
Researchers tested the blood of 30 women who were about six
months pregnant. Half were obese and had a body-mass index (BMI) of
more than 30 prior to becoming pregnant, while half had a normal
BMI of 20 to 25.
Obese women had fewer immune system cells that fight infections
-- including T-cells and natural killer cells, researchers found.
Obese women also had an impaired ability to produce those
The difference could threaten the health of babies born to obese
women, study author Dr. Sarbattama Sen, a researcher in the Mother
Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center and Floating
Hospital for Children in Boston, said in an American Academy of
Pediatrics news release.
"Women who are obese before pregnancy have critical differences in their immune function during pregnancy compared to normal-weight women, which has negative consequences for both mother and baby," Sen said.
The issue is taking on added urgency due to the increasing
numbers of obese women of reproductive age, Sen added. "Maternal
obesity has consequences for the mother and baby, which we are only
beginning to understand."
The study was to be presented Sunday at the Pediatric Academic
Societies annual meeting in Denver. The data and conclusions should
be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
For more about
obesity, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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