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Planning a baby? Here's why you should watch your weight


Excess weight and in pre-pregnancy period bring changes in milk that can impact infant growth, a study claims.

The study was published in the journal 'PLOS ONE'.

"The importance of this study is that it demonstrates that milk contents can vary depending on mother's weight status at the time of conception and further impact the growth and development of infants," said Henry Nuss, of the study.

"rates in the have increased significantly in recent decades," noted Melinda Sothern, professor of Behavioral & Community Sciences at Sciences Center.

"Although many studies have shown that may be protective against excessive weight gain during early life, we do not fully understand why," Sothern added.

milk contains pro-inflammatory proteins such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF-a) and interleukin-six (IL-6), as well as hormones like insulin and leptin, and anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3 (DHA) and omega-6 (EPA). If and how their interaction may influence infant growth has been unknown.

The research team set out to discover the interrelationships between these compounds in the blood and breast milk in early postpartum women with normal BMI and with overweight/before pregnancy to determine if these components correlated to infant growth measures at age 4-8 weeks.

They compared polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammatory markers, and hormones to infant weight, length, head circumference, and per cent fat mass at 4-8 weeks postpartum in the same group of 33 women.

The researchers found that pro-inflammatory qualities of breast milk were associated with infant growth measures regardless of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI.

However, infants born to women with overweight or obesity demonstrated less responsive growth to breast milk.

"Infants who are born to mothers of unhealthy weight status may be metabolically programmed to have a less favourable growth response to breast milk," said Dr Nuss.

"These findings suggest that women of childbearing age who anticipate having a child should consider their weight status as a potential risk factor for adverse growth outcomes," Dr Nuss added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 14 2019. 15:35 IST