Moms-to-be, eating for two can harm your baby
An international team has found that the risks were increased not just in the early years but also in adolescence, and in adulthood when the risk of disorders like schizophrenia was increased.
The findings, published in international journal `Obesity Reviews`, examined researches from across across the world on the impact of maternal weight on child development.
One study found that every increased unit in the pregnant woman`s Body Mass Index (BMI) — calculated as her weight in kilograms divided by the square of her height in metres — was linked to a "significantly" reduced IQ in child.
Overall, the average IQ of children of obese mothers was five points lower than those born to mothers of healthy weight, according to the study, one of 12 examined by the researchers at McMaster University, in Ontario Canada.
Another study from Sweden found children born of overweight mothers were more likely to suffer from attention deficit problems, while findings from Japan found every extra BMI point added in early pregnancy increased the offspring`s chance of developing schizophrenia in adulthood by 24 percent.
A similar study of Australian teenagers suggested their chance of having an eating disorder increased by 11 percent for every extra BMI point gained by their mothers during the pregnancy, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
The researchers said the reasons for the extra risks were not clear, but might be linked to changes in the hormonal, cardiovascular and immune systems during pregnancy as a result of excess weight.
Jane Munro, from the Royal College of Midwives, said more research was needed to establish whether the apparent risks highlighted in the latest study were a direct result of maternal obesity.