Obese mothers are risking the health of their babies - they are more likely to have miscarriages and give birth to malformed babies, according to new Australian research.

Sydney gynaecologist Andrew Zuschman, who studied the pregnancy outcomes of obese women between June 2008 and July 2009, also found that nearly half of overweight women give birth by caesarean section, often weeks before the child is due.

One in four babies born to obese women weighed more than 4kg and their weight - and that of their mothers - could cause problems during the birth, according to Zuschman.

Zuschman explained that the shoulders of large babies could get stuck in the birth canal, brining about a dip in the baby’s oxygen levels and leaving them with injuries or nerve problems.

“Women in this body mass index category [greater than 30kg/m2] really should be meeting their family doctor before they become pregnant and discussing all of these implications,” news.com.au quoted Zuschman, as saying.

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