Can a mother’s pre-pregnancy weight determine her child’s metabolism?

Washington: Moms-to-be, we have some important news for you.

In a new research, the link between a mother‘s body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy and the metabolic traits of her children is likely mediated by shared genetics and familial lifestyle rather than effects on the fetus during gestation.

It is believed that 20 to 50 percent of women these days start their pregnancy overweight or obese.

The researchers believe that this might lead to metabolic disruptions in offspring.

The team used data on 5,337 mother-father-offspring trios collected in three European birth cohorts.

Each data set included maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, paternal BMI, offspring BMI, and information on 153 metabolic traits in the offspring, based on a blood sample taken at age 16, 17, or 31.

They found associations between parental BMIs and offspring metabolic traits including VLDL-lipoproteins, VLDL-C, VLDL-triglycerides, VLDL-diameter, glycoprotein acetyls, triglycerides, HDL-lipoprotein, and HDL-C (all P<0.003).

However, the association was not significantly stronger for maternal compared with paternal BMI, arguing against an intra-uterine mechanism.

In addition, after taking offspring BMI into account, the data suggested that the apparent link between parental BMI and offspring metabolic traits could be largely explained by the association between parental BMI and offspring BMI.

The study was limited by the fact that BMI was self-reported, as well as the fact that BMI may not fully capture the complexity of different body compositions.

The authors of the study noted, “Our findings are more supportive of shared familial factors than an intrauterine developmental over nutrition mechanism for associations of maternal BMI with offspring metabolic traits. Interventions to reduce BMI in all family members may be more beneficial for cardio-metabolic health than focusing on reducing maternal pre-conception or pregnancy BMI.”

The study was published in Journal PLOS Medicine. (ANI)