A new study has shown that obese pregnant women can reduce the health risk to their babies through improved diet and greater physical activity.
Research published in the journal Medicines PLOS Study the effects of high sugar in mothers with gestational diabetes (GDM) and changes to the DNA of their babies.
GDM is becoming more frequent around the world with an increase in obesity and can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth as well as increase the child̵7;s risk of metabolic disease in later life. High glucose levels in mothers with GDM are believed to be able to induce epigenetic changes in the developing fetus (chemical changes to the genetic design of the fetus with the functioning of genes) leading to adverse health outcomes for the child.
Researchers from the University of Southampton and King’s College London studied data from more than 550 pregnant women with obesity and their babies, from the UK Pregnancy Activity and Better Eating Trial. UK (UPBEAT). The trial aims to improve the diet and physical performance of obese pregnant women across the UK. Compared with the women in the control group, who did not change their lifestyles during pregnancy, the women who received assistance in changing their diet to foods with a lower glycemic index gained muscle. They break down less quickly, reduce their fat intake and increase their physical activity, lose more weight and be metabolic healthier.
In this new study, the researchers compared the level and pattern of DNA methylation, a major epigenetic mechanism that controls gene activity, in infants from mothers who developed GDM with those who did not. GDM development. They then looked at whether a dietary intervention and physical activity during pregnancy alter these changes in babies born to mothers who developed GDM.
The results showed that GDM and high maternal glucose concentrations were associated with changes in the level and pattern of functional modification to the infant’s DNA. Furthermore, they found that dietary and exercise interventions significantly reduced the neonatal methylation changes associated with GDM in mothers.
Karen Lillycrop, Professor of Genetics at the University of Southampton, said, “These findings suggest that improvements to diet and physical activity may have an impact on their children’s development. These are very encouraging findings and more research is currently needed to determine whether reducing these epigenetic changes through a healthier lifestyle during pregnancy is accompanied by improved health outcomes. for children in later life. “
Professor Lucilla Poston, Tommy’s President of Maternal & Fetal Health and lead investigator of the UPBEAT trial at King’s College London, said: “We have long known that the babies of mothers have diabetes. Pregnancy has a higher risk of obesity and poor glucose control; this new study implies that epigenetic pathways may be involved. “
Tommy’s CEO Jane Brewin said: “Obesity during pregnancy can negatively affect mom and baby for a lifetime – so one of the best things a mom can do is improve fitness. However, this study shows that overweight mothers and their babies can still benefit from adopting a diet. healthy during pregnancy. healthy during pregnancy. ”
Research shows: Healthy diet and pregnancy exercise can lead to healthier babies.
Elie Antoun et al. Maternal glycemic disorders, changes in infant performance corrected by diet and interfering with physical activity during pregnancy: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial, Medicines PLOS (Year 2020). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pmed.1003229
Provided by University of Southampton
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