Dieting during pregnancy poses risk to child

New research carried out by scientists at the University of Manchester has found that
women who fall pregnant while dieting are more likely to have a child who could become
obese or diabetic later in life.

Dieting during pregnancy poses risk to child

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 3rd April 2012

The study, published in Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology was carried out alongside colleagues from New Zealand and Canada. It involved the examination of pregnancies in sheep, particularly twin pregnancies and it is believed that the findings also apply to humans.


The researchers also examined why human twins may be more likely to develop type-2 diabetes in adulthood. Researcher Anne White said:
“We found that unborn twin lambs had changes in the structure of DNA in the
region of the brain that regulates food intake and glucose that resulted in an increased
chance of diabetes in adulthood. Our findings provide a reason why twins are more likely
to get diabetes but we have also shown that mothers who don’t have enough food around
the time of conception may have a child who grows up with an increased risk of obesity.”

For the future

The researchers say that the study does not have implications for the treatment of diabetes or obesity. However, it could be important for ‘disease prevention’ measures, where women planning a family are given advice which could reduce health risks in the future for their children.

For further information on what is healthy during pregnancy, see weight gain in pregnancy.

Source: Press Association, Pregnancy dieting ‘risk to child’,  2nd April 2012.

Photography: David Roseborough @Flickr

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