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Maternal anorexia linked to low birth weight


Moms who have a history of anorexia may be more likely to have babies with lower birth weights, a new study found.

Researchers at the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) analyzed more than 2 million women, taking into account data from 14 existing studies carried out between 1999 and 2012 across several Western countries.

Infants of mothers with a history of anorexia showed an average difference in weight of 200g compared with infants of moms who never battled anorexia.

Risks of low birth weight

Lead study author Dr. Nadia Micali said the findings have important clinical implications in the prevention of pregnancy complications:

This is a landmark study for the field as it brings together a comprehensive body of literature on the subject, allowing us to support our hypothesis that among women of reproductive age with anorexia, there is a heightened risk of an adverse outcome for their babies.

Low birth weight has been associated with neurological and physical impairments, the study authors stressed, which often can't be identified until later in a child's life. Psychological issues like depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders have all been linked to low birth weight, while diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are some of the physical complications associated with low birth-weight babies.

"There is good evidence from our research that eating disorders in pregnancy can affect both the mother and the developing baby," Micali continued. "Greater awareness of eating disorders and their symptoms amongst antenatal health care professionals would help to better identify and manage such disorders amongst pregnant women."

The study is published in Epidemiologic Reviews.

Source: Medical Xpress