Pregnant women who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of giving birth to overweight babies, new research has revealed.

The study, carried out on babies at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, found that nearly one-third of newborns had more fat than expected. Of these, some had similar levels of fat build up around the abdomen to adults in their fifties. The researchers concluded that being overweight in pregnancy could lead to potentially dangerous changes to the baby's fat levels while in the womb.

Professor Neena Modi, who led the study, told the Daily Mail: "I was very surprised to be able to detect such a clear continuum of effect of maternal BMI (body mass index) on the baby.

"This is a very important finding indeed, opening the door to a new understanding of how a mother's metabolism affects her baby."

The researchers claim the study is the first to show that there is a direct link between the weight of the pregnant woman and her child.

Posted by Robert Mair