Overweight mothers risking birth defects and miscarriages
Holles Street Master warns obesity crisis is posing new challenges
Rising numbers of overweight pregnant women are risking their own health and serious complications in the birth of their child.
The National Maternity Hospital is grappling with the challenges posed by ageing and increasingly overweight expectant mums.
More than a third of expectant mothers who attend the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street are now overweight - raising the risks both for themselves and their unborn baby.
One in eight pregnant women at the nation's busiest maternity unit is classed as obese, posing even more serious medical risks.
The hospital's master Dr Rhona Mahony has revealed the scale of the problem.
She warned they have "all the attendant medical risks, including miscarriage, congenital malformation, gestational diabetes".
Gestational diabetes can develop in women during pregnancy because the mother's body is not able to produce enough insulin.
At the same time almost 40pc of women attending Holles Street are over 35 years old, which is also associated with a range of adverse outcomes.
It comes after a UCC study found more than half of Irish mothers who lost an infant in the weeks close to birth were either overweight or obese.