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The Times of India
04 June 2010
Researchers have uncovered evidence to show that piling on too much weight in pregnancy may lead to future heart risks in the child.

New research at the University of Bristol’s (UB) Children of the 90’s project shows that women who piled on weight more than recommended by the 2009 Institute of Medicine’s guidelines had children who at the age of nine weighed one kg heavier than children of mothers who gained the recommended amount.

The children also recorded waist measurements larger by 2 cm and an excess of body fat by 1 kg. They also recorded higher blood pressure and higher levels of inflammatory markers by as much as 15 per cent.

Lower levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), also known as good cholesterol were also recorded in the children.

Antenatal records were used to collect detailed information about mothers’ weight gain during pregnancy.

Over 5,000 Children of the 90’s youngsters were assessed at nine years of age and blood samples were available for 3,457 children.

Researchers studied the associations between pre-pregnancy weight and weight gain in pregnancy with cardiovascular disease risk factors in the children.

Debbie Lawlor, professor at UB, points out that information from the Children of the 90’s research has been vital in this research as, at the time the women were pregnant, it was routine to regularly check the weight of pregnant women at every antenatal clinic.

However, this practice was stopped in the mid–1990’s, so the Children of the 90’s study is a unique resource for studying the effects of weight gain in pregnancy.

“What the ideal weight gain is in pregnancy is a much debated question and at the moment we do not know the answer,” cautions Lawlor.

This is because weight gain in pregnancy is complex and reflects not only how the baby is growing but also how much weight the mother has put on, how much amniotic fluid there is and how much the mother’s blood volume has increased.

Therefore the ideal weight gain in pregnancy should reflect what is best for both mother and child in both the short term (around the time of birth) and the long term, said a UB release.

The findings were published in the latest edition of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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