3 Ways Obesity During Pregnancy Can Cause Cognitive Problems and Metabolic Diseases in Children

Maternal obesity has become the most common health risk during pregnancy. Obesity-related issues have been found to have harmful effects on an infant's health, both before and after birth. Inflammation and insulin resistance can affect the genetic predisposition of a child, making her more susceptible to obesity, metabolic diseases, and cognitive problems.


Obesity During Pregnancy Interferes with Cognitive Development


Cognitive function, which is the ability to process thoughts, seems to be greatly affected by maternal obesity. A recent study found that children born to women who were obese before pregnancy averaged lower test scores during their preschool years.


Although the connection between obesity and cognitive development is unclear, it appears to be the result of a variety of factors. A person who is overweight isn't necessarily getting too many nutrients. In fact, just the opposite may be true.


Premature babies whose mothers were obese before pregnancy also have a greater risk of cognitive problems than those whose mothers are of average weight. According to a study published by the journal Pediatrics, inflammation caused by excess weight could affect a baby's developing brain.


Obesity During Pregnancy Can Contribute to an Iron Deficiency


Dietary iron travels through the intestine and to the placenta. Obesity causes excess inflammation that interferes with iron absorption as it makes its way through the intestine. The risk of iron deficiency anemia in the mother is increased, while the fetus doesn't receive enough of this vital nutrient.


Researchers analyzed umbilical cord blood and found evidence of lower iron statuses in the babies of obese women. Iron deficiency can contribute to impaired brain development and childhood learning problems.


Low levels of iron in newborns have been found to be directly associated with babies' negative emotions and low levels of alertness. A lack of iron is also associated with the inability to remember object patterns in the preschool years. Results showing similar cognitive problems were also found in animal studies.


Obesity During Pregnancy Contributes to Childhood Obesity and Metabolic Disease


Obesity and metabolic diseases affect a growing number of children in the US. Infants born to mothers who are obese, overweight, or diabetic have been shown to have more body fat along with an increased risk of metabolic disease, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high triglycerides.


High inflammation can negatively affect organ development. It also has a strong impact on how genetically susceptible a child will be to certain diseases in the future.


For obese women who are planning to become pregnant, a weight loss plan before conception is an important step. Removing sugar from the diet can be an effective way to start losing weight while setting the stage for a healthy pregnancy.


Obesity during pregnancy may be the most widespread health risk for developing babies. It creates an environment of insulin resistance and inflammation that is passed on to the fetus, paving the way for future metabolic problems and diseases. Attain a healthy weight before pregnancy for your baby's health, both now and in the years to come.



Resources:


Bhattacharya, S., DM Campbell, and WA Liston. "Effect of Body Mass Index on Pregnancy Outcomes in Nulliparous Women Delivering Singleton Babies." BMC Public Health 24.7 (2007): 168. Print.


Jarvie, Eleanor, Sylvie Hauguel?de?Mouzon, Scott M. Nelson, Naveed Sattar, Patrick M. Catalano, and Dilys J. Freeman. "Lipotoxicity in Obese Pregnancy and Its Potential Role in Adverse Pregnancy Outcome and Obesity in the Offspring." Clinical Science 119.3 (2010): 123-29. Print.


Davis, Caroline. "Maternal Diet and Offspring Development." Addiction 106.7 (2011): 1215-216. Print.

Heerwagen, M. J. R., M. R. Miller, L. A. Barbour, and J. E. Friedman. "Maternal Obesity and Fetal Metabolic Programming: A Fertile Epigenetic Soil." AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 299.3 (2010): R711-722. Print.


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