PHILADELPHIA—Pregnant women who are obese are more likely to give birth to children who have congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT), researchers reported at the 2014 Kidney Week meeting.

Using linked birth-hospital discharge records from Washington State from 2003–2012, a team led by Ian R. Macumber, MD, of Seattle Children’s Hospital, identified 3,221 mothers who gave birth to infants with CAKUT and matched them delivery year in a 1:4 ratio with healthy controls.

 Compared with controls, mothers giving birth to infants with CAKUT were 26% more likely to be obese and 43% more likely to be in the highest obesity category. Overweight was not linked with CAKUT.

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“Our findings add to the public health importance of obesity, particularly as a modifiable risk factor,” Dr. Macumber said.

Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract are diagnosed in up to 1% of pregnancies and account for 20%–30% of prenatal abnormalities, the researchers noted in an oral presentation.