A woman’s health is of paramount importance, especially during her pregnancy, as it is with what she eats as well as the amount of exercise she has that her child relies on to develop normally.
But a study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals just how equally significant a mom’s health is before she conceives. According to research from the Wake Forest University, the brain defects of premature babies can be associated to their mother’s health, specifically her pre-pregnancy weight.
921 preterm infants who were born underweight and before 28 weeks gestation were included in the study. The mothers of these babies agreed to give their placental biopsies right after giving birth.11 percent of these babies had cognitive impairments by age two, based on neurological evaluations and developmental assessments.
The study reveals that the babies among these who were born from women who were obese before getting pregnant had twice the risk of acquiring brain problems. These women were considered obese by having a body mass index of 30 or higher.
While no clear indication as to why a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight influences brain problems in their child, obesity has been associated with inflammation. The excess weight causes the overproduction of immune cells which aid in your body’s inflammatory response in the event of trauma to tissue.
The good news is that women can prevent these brain defects from happening in their baby by living a healthier lifestyle even before getting pregnant. Ways during pregnant such as quitting drinking, minimizing drinking coffee or soda, eating junk food, among others, can help women to have healthier babies.
Said the study’s lead author, Dr. Jennifer Helderman, “What parents need to know is that when it comes to a baby’s brain development, everything is important — even factors prior to getting pregnant. And any changes that they can make toward a healthier lifestyle might improve the outcomes for their babies.”