Obesity in pregnancy leading to developmental disabilities

Obesity in pregnancy leading to developmental disabilitiesA recent study conducted by Laura Schieve–an epidemiologist with CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities—demonstrated that pregnant women who wewere considered overweight, per BMI standards, were much more likely to have children with development disabilities such as ADHD.

In addition to two recent previous  studies, the third most recent study consisted of 1,311 pregnant women, between the years 2005 and 2012. According to scientific research, a range of 18.5 to 25 is considered healthy according to BMI statistics. (A commonly utilized and trusted BMI calculator may be found here . This most recent experimental study was conducted on the pretext of altering and adding more sophisticated variables to further evaluate weight loss in these pregnant women, and the development of disorders in children such as Autism and ADHD. Any BMI that is 35 or more is considered to be obese in nature. This research experiment took into account added-weight from pregnancy, gestational diabetes, variations in diagnosis of postpartum depression, and even breast-feeding, along with it’s significance in nutritional effects and prospective weight loss.

These studies conducted to-date demonstrate that moms who are obese before and or during pregnancy are up to two times as likely to bare children who possess developmental disabilities, or psychological disorders that interfere with social development and academic learning among peers, per the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The American Academy of Pediatrics found that mothers whom were overweight before and during pregnancy had at least a 3 times more likely chance of having a child that is born with autism spectrum disorder, and up to 4 times more likely to have developmental ADHD.

While obesity is already discouraged amongst men and women, there are specific advisories in place for women in which mention the inclination for women to be overweight more frequently than men, or suffer from a greater challenge to lose weight. There are numerous health risks associated with women that are brought on through overeating and obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and even stroke. Additionally, overeating can lower mood, cause depression, a lack of motivation, and now also negatively impact their children.

Obesity and poor dieting during pregnancy can also lead to unhealthy lactation for a pregnant woman, and in turn (post-pregnancy) lead to further developmental health risks associated with their child. The lack of a proper diet during pregnancy can lead to malnutrition in a child and cause deprivation of much needed nutrients for brain growth, as well as subject a child to a stronger probability that he or she may develop other medical conditions such as diabetes. One theory listed by Schieve’s is that inflammation caused by poor dieting and obesity could contribute to improper growth of the brain of a child during and post-pregnancy.

In efforts to further understand a woman’s susceptibility for medical complications for both self and child, it’s strongly advised that a woman first visits the appropriate doctors to discuss risk, necessary changes, dietary, and fitness recommendations. While there are no guarantees with anything pertaining to Science, the statistical probability of otherwise developing additional or more complex physical or psychological disorders is more prevalent in mothers who have an abusive diet and unhealthy weight.

Image credit: Anna Omelchenko

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