Women have been encouraged to lead healthy lifestyles after an alarming correlation was noted between newborn baby deaths and obese mothers.
Although stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates have been in decline in the UK since 2000, 10% of mothers who had a stillbirth or whose babies died in the neonatal period in 2009 were clinically obese, according to the Perinatal Mortality 2009 report. These women all had a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, which is an indicator of obesity.
Mothers at the opposite ends of the age spectrum were also found to be more at risk of having stillbirths, the report published by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries found.
Those who were younger (less than 25 years old) and older (40 plus) were found to be in the high-risk groups.
The youngest (less than 20 years old) mothers were 1.4 times more likely to have a stillbirth and 1.2 times more likely to have a neonatal death than mothers of 25-29.
The older (40 plus) were 1.7 and 1.3 times more likely to have a stillbirth or neonatal death respectively compared to mothers of 25-29.
Dr Tony Falconer, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "It is vitally important for women to be encouraged to lead healthy lifestyles throughout their lives and they can get good information from their GPs on diet, nutrition and exercise."