Study found there is a 38 per cent more chance of a stillbirth if women gain between 6kg and 11kg between pregnancies
Mums who gain as little as a stone after the birth of their first child put their second baby at greater risk of dying, a study has shown.
For women with an average body mass index, the risk of a stillbirth was 38% higher if she gained between 6kg and 11kg – or from just over 13lbs to 1st 7lb – between pregnancies.
And the likelihood of death in infancy was 27% greater, findings showed.
While for women who gained more than 11kg, the chances of stillbirth were 55% greater and of infant mortality 60% more likely.
Professor Eduardo Villamo, the study’s co-author, said: “Our findings highlight the importance of educating women about maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy and reducing excess weight before becoming pregnant as a way to improve infant survival.”
Researchers analysed more than 450,000 women in Sweden who had their first and second children between 1992 and 2012.
The study, in medical journal The Lancet, included analysis of the risk of the second baby’s death in the first month after birth and also stillbirth.
It found mothers who gained more than four BMI units – on average around 11kg – between pregnancies had a 50% greater risk overall of their baby dying in the first four weeks.
But overweight mums who lost at least 6kg before their second pregnancy reduced the likelihood by around 50%.
The chances of a stillbirth among both healthy and overweight mums rose incrementally with weight increase. Causes of death included birth asphyxia, infections and sudden infant death syndrome.
Study co-author Prof Sven Cnattingius added: “Once a mother has had her first baby, she should be advised to reduce her weight to the same as it was before getting pregnant.”