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Pregnant women who are obese or overweight are at a higher risk of giving birth prematurely, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Swedish study, led by Dr. Sven Cnattingius of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, included an analysis of over 1.5 million births.

This isn’t the first study that’s looked at the link between being overweight during pregnancy and risk of premature birth. Researchers at McMaster University revealed that overweight and obese women are at a 30 percent increased risk of induced preterm births and that their children may suffer serious health consequences from early birth.

In this study, researchers investigated whether being overweight or obese has any significant impact on pregnancy, increasing the risk of premature birth.

Premature birth is when the baby is born at less than 37 weeks of gestation. It is one of the main causes of neonatal illness and infant mortality.

A total of 1.59 million births between 1992 and 2010 were analyzed from the Swedish Medical Birth Register, the investigators checked the mother’s body-mass-index as well as any pregnancy complications, or health risks after birth.

Dr. Raul Artal, professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the study, said the findings of this study “reinforces the fact that the complications of obesity and additional weight gain are deleterious to both mother and fetus.”

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