Centers for Disease Control researchers have been conducting studies on women's pre-pregnancy weight. Not surprisingly, new study data revealed that women were conceiving children at higher weights than ever before. In 2014, more than 50% of women had pre-pregnancy weights, which classified as overweight or obese.

Researchers noted, "Women under 20, Asian-American women, women with a college degree, women pregnant for the first time and women who paid for their own delivery were the least likely to be overweight before pregnancy. Obese women were more likely to be older (over 40), black, American Indian or Alaska Native. They were also less likely to have a college degree and more likely to rely on Medicaid to pay for their delivery."

Dr. Siobhan Dolan with March of Dimes cautions that the pre-pregnancy weight of a mother can impact both maternal and child health; overweight and obesity during pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure and diabetes which can, in turn, cause early delivery or the need for cesarean section. The HealthDay news release on the new data can be found here.

As mentioned, maternal overweight and obesity can contribute to gestational diabetes. New research from Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Baton Rouge, La., suggests that gestational diabetes may cause adverse health effects in offspring. Researchers found that those children whose mothers had gestational diabetes were at 53% higher risk for obesity, 73% higher risk for central obesity, and 42% higher risk for high body fat when compared to children of mothers without gestational diabetes.

Researchers explained, "The mechanisms by which exposure to diabetes in the womb increases the risk of offspring obesity are not fully understood exposure to maternal diabetes is associated with excess fetal growth in utero, possibly mainly due to an increase in fetal fat mass and alterations in fetal hormone levels. Maternal prenatal GDM may also influence fetal genetics, thereby influencing the expression of genes that direct the accumulation of body fat or related metabolism."

The study was published in Diabetologia and can be accessed here and the news release from Diabetes CO UK can be found here.