Even if obese women eat healthy during pregnancy, their babies may
suffer future health problems. So it is advisable to lose body
weight before going in for pregnancy, says a news study.
"We can see fat sequestered in the placentas of obese mothers when
it should be going to the baby to support its growth. 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," said Yuan-Xiang Pan, epigeneticist and
professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois.
Pan, who co-authored the study with Rita Strakovsky, blames what
he calls the 'obesogenic' environment of the mother, which
includes increased triglycerides, high levels of the hormone
leptin and elevated amounts of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs)
circulating in the obese expectant mother's body, the journal
Biology of Reproduction reports.
Triglycerides are the primary fat in our bodies, the main
constituent in our energy system. Leptin may play an important
role in obesity-related cardiovascular disease while NEFAs are
found in animal and vegetable fats and oils.
Triglyceride and NEFA levels are nearly twice as high in obese
mothers, even when they consume healthy diets during pregnancy.
"My advice is, lose weight well before you become pregnant," Pan
said, according to an Illinois statement.
Pan compared the placentas of obese rats fed a healthy diet
throughout their pregnancies with the placentas of
obesity-resistant rats fed the same diet.
Obese mothers gave birth to babies that were up to 17 percent
smaller than they should have been. The consequences for those
infants may be lifelong, making them more susceptible to disease,