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Obesity during pregnancy can affect a child’s brain development

The bond between mother and child is the most intense bond in human nature. Giving birth to a child brings big changes in a mother’s life. Beyond the joy and happiness that can mean carrying a new person in your womb, there is something fundamental to this new role: Responsibility. And it’s not just about parenting and education. This responsibility begins with protecting your child’s health during pregnancy.

We would like to share with you a study that suggests a link between obesity during pregnancy and problems with the child’s future brain development.

Pregnancy obesity

A woman’s weight during pregnancy is often a concern for both her and her obstetrician. Weight gain should be gradual and should be within healthy limits for each pregnancy period. Complications that obesity can cause in women during pregnancy include high blood pressure, preeclampsia (pregnancy poisoning), and gestational diabetes.

You can find out if you are overweight or obese by using a chart that measures your body mass index (BMI).

Obesity and pregnancy risks

When a pregnant woman gains too much weight, it is often believed that only her health will be compromised. So, we do not take into account that this is a problem that can also affect the baby. For example, preeclampsia can be risky for pregnancy. While it’s normal for mothers with this condition to give birth without complications, there is a risk of premature birth or, in some cases, miscarriage.

A team of Columbia University and University of Texas experts published a study in BMC Pediatrics and linked maternal obesity to some difficulties in the development of their children during pregnancy.

How the study was done

Team of epidemiologists, nutritionists, and environmental health researchers, both during pregnancy and at age 3 and 7, 368 examined the mother and her children. The 368 people selected belonged to the same economic and social family members. Ethnicity, marital status, education level and IQ of the mothers were taken into account. Attention was also paid to the gestation period in which the baby was born and the environmental conditions it was exposed to.

The mother’s nutrition during pregnancy and whether the baby was breastfed or not were excluded from the analysis.

Tests were conducted to assess motor skills when children were 3 years old. The same tests were done again 4 years later when he was 7 years old.

A child’s IQ may drop

In studies of 3-year-olds, researchers examined motor skills and found that maternal obesity in pregnancy causes children’s motor skills to slow down. They stated that it was related to the cases in which he was involved.

When children were re-examined at age 7, it was discovered that sons of mothers who were overweight or obese during pregnancy had lower IQs than children born to women of normal weight. This difference was 5 points or more and occurred only in males.

Although the study found a link between obesity during pregnancy and the aforementioned problems in children, it was not possible to determine the cause or causes of this.

On the other hand, the study took each child’s environment and found that the impact of maternal obesity during pregnancy on the child’s IQ was lower when they grew up in a comfortable home and took stimulants for play and learning.

Do you know how much weight your mother gained while she was pregnant with you? If you are pregnant, what was your experience of gaining weight? Please share with us in the comments.

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