Surprise. We already know that there is a link between obese pregnant women and obesity in their children. Now, doctors have linked abnormal brain development in children to maternal obesity.
In a study presented at annual meeting – The Pregnancy Meeting™ - of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in San Francisco last month, researchers from Tufts Medical Center released findings showing the effects of maternal obesity on fetal brain development.
The study was conducted at the Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI) at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA, where researchers found patterns of gene expression that suggested abnormal brain development in the fetuses of obese women as early as the second trimester.
“Women won’t be surprised to hear (that) being obese while pregnant can lead to obesity in the child,” according to Dr. Andrea Edlow, lead author of the study and fellow in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. “But, what might surprise them is the potential effect it has on the brain development of their unborn child.”
It is hoped that these findings – together with any future data – will encourage more women to seek a healthier weight and body mass index (BMI) before becoming pregnant to minimize the risk to their unborn child.