Newborns born to overweight or obese mothers show signs of heart disease
Babies whose mothers are overweight show early signs of heart disease when they are born, research suggests.
Newborns born to overweight or obese mothers have thicker walls of the body's major artery - a sign of heart disease - than those whose mothers are of a normal weight.
Researchers examined the body mass index (BMI) of 23 pregnant women when they were 16 weeks pregnant.
Within a week of their babies being born, researchers scanned their abdominal aorta - the section of the artery reaching down to the belly.
The study, published in the Foetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood, found that the artery walls were thicker in newborns born to overweight or obese mums.
Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "These results could suggest a direct link between a mother's weight during pregnancy and her child's risk of cardiovascular disease.
"However, this was a very small study of just 23 women and we would need to see research on a much larger scale to make any firm conclusions.
"We do know that obesity during pregnancy can cause a number of problems for both the mother and their unborn baby.
"If you're thinking of starting a family and have concerns about your weight, try to eat healthily and keep active. Looking after yourself when you're pregnant will mean that you are in the best position to look after your baby when the time comes."