How Obesity and Diabetes can Harm Your Baby

We’re constantly discovering more and more ways that some basic health conditions – such as obesity and diabetes – can affect your pregnancy in a negative way. For example, one recent study looked at the development of embryos, and how it could be affected by these conditions.

The study measured the exposure of eggs to saturated fatty acids. Women who have diabetes and women who are obese typically have high amounts of saturated fatty acids in the ovaries.

To be sure, the study didn’t look at human embryos. At this point, the study looked simply at cattle eggs.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • When embryos were exposed to higher-than-normal amounts of fatty acids, they tended to have fewer cells.
  • In addition, those eggs tended to have altered gene expression.
  • Even the metabolic activity of such eggs was altered.
  • Each of these factors worked together to make the eggs less viable, and less likely to develop in a normal way.

Where does that saturated fat come from?

People who are obese or who have diabetes are more likely to metabolize their stored fat. That means they wind up with greater amounts of fatty acids in the ovaries. While studies have shown that this can affect eggs before ovulation, the most recent research suggests for the first time that there is a negative connection with the actual embryo.

What can you do?

This research illustrates just how important it is to manage your health care while you’re pregnant. If you’re obese, pregnancy isn’t the time to lose weight. Instead, make sure you’re making healthy nutritional choices. You should still gain about 10 to 15 pounds during pregnancy, even if you were obese before you got pregnant.

If you have diabetes, you need to work hard to manage it. Stay on top of your nutrition, and consult with your doctor on a regular basis in order to manage your condition as best as possible.

Ultimately, your health as well as the health of your baby depend on you making the right choices while you’re pregnant. It’s not always easy, but it’s most definitely worth it.

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