- Studies showed that the excess weight of mothers during pregnancy could affect the baby
- Recent one revealed how this actually affected the brain of the baby while still in the womb
- Mothers must take note of their body mass index (BMI) and make sure it does not fall within the overweight or obese category
- The best advice is to make sure that moms keep their weight according to their height
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Women who are planning a pregnancy may need to start to reduce some weight as a new study stated that obesity poses a problem in the development of the baby's brain while inside the womb.
The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry noted that the development of the areas of the brain that are used for decision-making and control behavior could be affected once the mother has a high body mass index (BMI). A high BMI indicates that a mother is either overweight or considered obese.
The researchers from New York University examined 109 pregnant women who were already in their third trimester, between six and nine months. The participants' BMIs were between 25 to 47. It must be noted that a BMI in the range of 25 to 30 is already categorized as overweight, while a BMI of more than 30 is already obese.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers measured fetal brain activity of the babies of the participants. They found that there was a correlation between the high BMI of the mothers and the brain areas of the babies, namely the prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula. The researchers noted that a disruption in these two brain areas has been associated with behavioral issues like autism, overeating, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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Researcher Dr. Moriah Thomason, NYU Langone Health's child and adolescent psychiatry associate professor, stated that the findings of their study affirm how a mother's obesity could potentially affect fetal brain development. She added that this may explain the metabolic and cognitive health concerns that doctors have seen in children who were born to overweight or obese mothers.
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