Obesity during pregnancy creates health issues for pregnant mothers, but we are now discovering that it can also have long-term health consequences for their babies.
We have known for some time that children of obese mothers are at higher risk of developing diabetes and weight gain, but the reasons for this were not well understood. Many scientists believed that it was more likely to be due to bad eating habits in the family environment.
Recent research, however, suggests that obesity in pregnancy can alter the brain wiring in the babies and make them prone to metabolic disorders and diabetes. The research showed that mice nourished on the milk of mothers with a high fat intake developed abnormal brain circuits in the region of the brain that regulates metabolism.
This means that the food intake of expectant mothers can have a powerful impact of the metabolic health of their children.
The good news is that mothers can control their children’s predisposition to obesity by altering their food intake during pregnancy.