Slimming before pregnancy ensures healthier births

Published: April 17, 2012

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 new study. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: 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 new 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 life-long, making them more susceptible to disease, he noted.

Reader Comments (5)

  • Chilli
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Are we living in United States or any other non muslim country??? We have our values and traditions which we have to guard against foreign onslaught. ET is posing otherwise by picking offensive photographs. I feel really shame for this deliberate selection of photographs which oppose our respect for females in our society. Trying to be too liberal will end up nowhere.

    I don’t know if there is any ethics or policy guidelines for ET staff???? I am sure there is none.

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  • mentelisco
    Apr 17, 2012 - 2:13PM

    you could have used some other photo to associate with the writeup. Dont push the limits.

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  • ishaq
    Apr 17, 2012 - 6:15PM

    dont push our limits….please.Recommend

  • Fatima
    Apr 18, 2012 - 8:14AM

    You are all so narrow minded!!!!! end of story. Focus on the content which is useful for a nation full of obsese people especially women of child bearing age. Its a shame our society is so jahil.

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  • a_amir
    Apr 18, 2012 - 10:50AM

    The picture is of a pregnant woman, it can’t be helped if people like Chilli have dirty minds and can’t control themselves. It’s for you as an adult to make the right choices, not for society to dictate what should and should not be controlled.

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