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Obese special care lowers stillbirth risk

Obese pregnant women should be offered special care to reduce the risk of stillbirth, experts say. A new study has found obese expectant mothers who went to specialist antenatal clinics were eight times less likely to have a stillbirth.

Such clinics may help medics spot signs of complications sooner so women can be given appropriate treatment.

They also enable health workers to identify women who may need to be induced early or undergo an elective caesarean to avoid problems during labour.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland tracked more than 1000 pregnant women who were classed as being severely obese with a body mass index score of 40-or-over.

Half the women attended a specialist obesity clinic, which included a team of medics, including obstetricians, specialist midwives, dieticians and other clinical experts, while the others received standard antenatal care.

Women who attended the clinic were given tailored advice about healthy eating and weight management during pregnancy. They were also tested for diseases such as gestational diabetes.

Those who developed a complication could be treated in one visit, rather than being referred to a separate specialist clinic at a later date.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found those who attended the specialist clinic were also less likely to have low-weight babies and more likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

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