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Obes Rev. 2011 May;12(5):e548-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00850.x. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Pre-pregnancy and pregnancy obesity and neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring: a systematic review.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Maternal obesity in pregnancy is associated with a number of adverse outcomes for mother and her offspring both perinatally and later in life. This includes recent evidence that suggests that obesity in pregnancy may be associated with central nervous system problems in the foetus and newborn. Here, we systematically review studies that have explored associations between maternal overweight and obesity in pregnancy and cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems in offspring. The 12 studies eligible for this review examined a wide range of outcomes across the lifespan and eight provided evidence of a link. These data suggest that the offspring of obese pregnancies may be at increased risk of cognitive problems and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in childhood, eating disorders in adolescence and psychotic disorders in adulthood. Given the limitations of existing data, these findings warrant further study, particularly in light of the current worldwide obesity epidemic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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