Can a pregnant mom's weight affect her baby's heart health? New research says "Yes."
According to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a mother’s obesity while pregnant may increase her baby's risk of heart attack and stroke in the future. The study, conducted at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada, evaluated the effects of weight loss surgery on children born to obese mothers.
For the study, researchers recruited 20 women who had children before and after having weight loss surgery. They then compared the genetic makeup of the children born before surgery with those born after. Researchers found that the children born after their mothers had the surgery had greater insulin sensitivity and healthier blood sugar levels than their siblings born before surgery. Overall, the children born before surgery had poorer “metabolic” health and had a higher risk for cardiovascular disease than those born after the surgery.
Of course, all kids are different, even those who are related. So comparing one brother to another is not enough to suggest a definitive link. The mothers could also have eaten different foods after the surgery that would be responsible for the change. But this research does suggest that a baby's heart health is not simply a matter of genetics, but also the conditions she encounters while developing in her mother's womb.