Big babies may increase likelihood of developing breast cancer says study

Posted on 08 August 2012

In most instances, when women deliver big newborns, we don't think anything of it. We just accept the fact that they simply have a little bit more baby weight to lose. But, a recent study concluded that these mommies may be unknowingly at risk for something more serious than extended exercise sessions.

Scientists from the University of Texas (UT) Medical Branch at Galveston concluded that moms who gave birth to little bundles of joy that weighed more than 8.25 pounds were more than two times as likely to develop breast cancer than females who delivered smaller babies.

''Women who give birth to large babies have increased risk of breast cancer independent of other risk factors,'' Dr. Radek Bukowski, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at UT, said in a statement. ''It's important because if [the finding] stands in further studies, it may have an impact on clinical tests for women and may even improve [doctor’s] predictions.''

Scientists discovered that larger newborns appeared to develop certain amounts of hormones, like estrogen, anti-estrogen and free insulin-like growth factors, while in the womb that raised a woman's risk of cancer. Typically, the 24,000 females involved in the study didn't develop breast cancer until 38 years after giving birth.

Bukowski said that this shows that the body clings to the memory of exposure to hormones decades after pregnancy.

Of course, more research needs to be conducted before scientists can publish advice to expectant women. If you have any questions about how to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy, you should always consult your doctor, who can advise you on the importance of eating right and engaging in physical activity during those crucial nine months.

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