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Half of newborn deaths are due to excessive weight of their mothers – Oct 2010

Mothers' obesity may play part in baby deaths

By KATE NEWTON and NZPA - The Dominion Post CLICK HERE to see the source of the article

– – – – – – – first, a Hypothesis by VitaminDWiki


  • Overweight people have less vitamin D (it is stored in the fat)
  • Pregnancies with low vitamin D result in a wide variety of health problems with the children
  • Infants born of obese mothers have a higher probability of infant dying (see story)


  • Pregnancies with obese mothers, who have low vitamin D, have higher probability of infant dying

– – – – – – – – – and now, here is the article
Nearly half of all newborn babies that die are born to overweight or obese mothers, prompting concerns that increasing obesity rates could spark a rise in the number of baby deaths.

A Health Ministry report on maternal and perinatal deaths – babies who die after 20 weeks in the womb and up to seven days after birth – found that 657 babies died during 2008.

That was a rate of one in 100 births, comparable to British and Australian rates. Nine women also died from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes.

At least 49 per cent of the mothers of stillborn babies and 45 per cent of mothers of babies who died in the first weeks of life were overweight or obese, and the report said research was "increasingly linking obesity with poor pregnancy outcomes".

The report committee chairwoman, Auckland University obstetrics professor Cindy Farquhar, said better data was urgently needed to assess whether obesity affected perinatal deaths.

"Unbelievably, we don't know what the national data for all pregnant women is. The obesity epidemic is of concern to clinicians as it translates into all sorts of problems in pregnancy – so we are very keen to get better data."

Helen Paterson, a senior lecturer in women's and children's health at the Dunedin School of Medicine, said New Zealand data was limited and more local research was needed to assess whether obesity contributed to perinatal death.

Several international studies had identified an increased risk of stillbirth and neonatal death associated with maternal obesity.

New Zealand's increasing obesity rates could increase mother and baby morbidity and mortality rates, she said.

Using customised foetal growth charts could help minimise that impact. The British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend that overweight women be given preconception advice on folic acid, vitamin D and weight loss.

A working group will be set up to investigate the deaths of the 488 babies that did not have abnormalities, "and therefore may have been preventable deaths", Dr Farquhar said.

The committee has also recommended more Health Ministry research into why babies born to Pacific Island and Maori mothers were more likely to die (darker skin = lower vitamin D), as well as to mothers who lived in low socio-economic areas.

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