Study links obesity during pregnancy with infant risk of health problems

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th April 2012

A new study from the University of Illinois, in the US, has found that obesity during pregnancy creates unhealthy conditions in the mother’s body that places the infant at risk for future health problems.

The scientists behind the study claim the findings should come as a warning for obese women who are planning pregnancies.

In the study, the placentas of obese rats fed a healthy diet throughout their pregnancies were compared with the placentas of obesity-resistant rats fed the same diet.

The study found that, although the obese females did not gain much weight on the healthy diet, the obesogenic environment remained, and it affected nutrient transport regulation in the placenta.

University of Illinois’ professor of nutrition, Dr Yuan-Xiang Pan said, “As a result, obese mothers gave birth to babies that were up to 17 per cent smaller than they should have been. The consequences for those infants may be lifelong, making them more susceptible to disease.”

According to Dr Pan, the nutrient supply region in the placenta of an obese mother is half the size of that of a normal-weight mother, even when both are eating the same healthy diet.