Washington: Mothers-to-be please take note, gaining too much weight during pregnancy could cause serious and long-lasting health complications to your baby later in life, a new research has claimed.
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy is already known to be causing obesity among children and adolescents, but this new research indicated excess weight gain before and during pregnancy could have even longer-lasting health consequences.
It found a direct link between the maternal weight gain and the tendency of offspring to be overweight, to have high blood pressure and excess sugar and fat levels at age 32.
"In an age of an `overweight epidemic` in the world, it is important to know the factors that are involved in leading to overweight and other health risks," said study researcher Orly Manor of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"This understanding makes it essential that we identify those early windows of opportunity in which we can intervene in order to reduce the risks of chronic illness later in life," Manor was quoted as saying by LiveScience.
In the study, the researchers analysed clinical data of 1,400 people born in Jerusalem between 1974 and 1976. The information included the weights of mothers before and during pregnancy and the weight of the child at birth.
The researchers gathered current data on the babies (now 32 years) including their weight, blood pressure and sugar and fat levels in the blood, plus measurements of body mass index and hip width.
The results, published in the journal Circulation, showed a clear influence of mothers` excess weight during pregnancy on their children, affecting in turn other risk factors in adulthood.
For example, the children of mothers who gained more than 14 kg during pregnancy were measured to have a higher body mass index than those who were born to mothers who didn`t gain more than 9 kg during pregnancy.
Similar comparisons were made for sugar and fat levels in the blood, all indicating that those born to overweight moms had detrimental characteristics regarding their health and life expectancies as compared to those born to mothers who had not gained excessive weight, the researchers said.
Additional factors could also have an influence on the phenomenon, including analogous genetic traits of the mother and child or environmental influences during pregnancy, and these would be worthy of further research, they added.