By 2010, over one fifth of pregnant women in the UK will be obese at the start of their pregnancy, according to scientists from the North East Public Health Observatory (NEPHO).

The Teeside-based researchers studied 36,821 women who had attended a local maternity unit between the start of 1990 and the end of 2004 and found that the proportion of women who are obese at the start of their pregnancy rose from 9.9% to 16.0% in the 14-year period.

Results also showed that mums-to-be were more likely to be overweight if they were at the older end of the fertility spectrum and lived in a deprived area.

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