Melbourne: A new study has suggested that rising obesity is leading to more deaths of pregnant women and an increase in birth defects.
According to Associate Professor Rebecca Kimble, data from the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital shows a rising trend in overweight or obese pregnant women.
The analytical data suggested that between 2008 and 2012, a quarter of pregnant women at the hospital were overweight and another 20 percent were obese.
Prof Kimble said it came as little surprise that these increasing weights have resulted in rises in the number of anaesthetic risks, pre-term delivery rates, post-operative complications and co-morbidities like hypertension and diabetes.
The researcher revealed that the risks of being overweight or obese during pregnancy don't only relate to mothers but also contribute to a rise in the rates of birth defects, stillbirths and late foetal deaths.
Meanwhile, it was suggested that obesity is now Queensland's biggest preventable killer and researchers fear that the Sunshine State may be headed down the same path as the US where maternal mortality rates more than doubled from 1987 to 2009.