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Excess weight gain in pregnancy can be detrimental, reiterates a new study

Posted:  Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gaining weight is a natural process in pregnancy but gaining too much weight could be detrimental. A new research by UK scientists have further confirmed this and found that women gaining too much weight during pregnancy increased the risk of their children developing health problems later on in life.

The results of their study were published as a part of a European Obesity Project. In order to conduct the study, the scientists followed around 13,000 people from birth (since 1930s and 40s) until their present age. This amounted to 80 years of follow up.

When quizzed, the pregnant women justified a high fat diet by saying they were eating for two. The researchers found that pregnant women who were eating a high fat diet had a weakened placenta, which provided lesser protection to the foetus against the maternal stress hormone cortisol. This could cause mood disorders in children as they grow up.

Additionally, the researchers found that infants born to mothers who became overweight during the later stages of pregnancy could be at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke in adult life.

The other finding of the study was in relation to the telomeres, which are the protective caps at the end of the DNA. Shorter telomeres are signs of disease or a shorter lifespan. According to the researchers, pregnant women born with shorter telomeres and high body mass index (BMI) could reverse being overweight or showing signs of disease by being physically active.

The researchers suggest that not just pregnant women but also women planning to be pregnant must take steps to ensure a healthy lifestyle. To achieve this, strategies must be devised to prevent obesity in young girls and those in the childbearing age.

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