Excessive adiposity and the body inflammation associated with it are already known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and not only in adults. But relatively little is known about the factors that can determine an inflammatory state from birth if the mother accumulates too much fat mass during pregnancy. According to a study conducted by a team of Australian experts from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Child Health Research Unit, the Department of Paediatrics of the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, the Boden Institute of Obesity respectively, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney and the Department of Paediatrics at Monash University, there is an association between increasing maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index and increasing birth weight, fatness and inflammation in the newborn. We talked about it with Dr. Silvia Goggi, a medical specialist in Food Science at Humanitas and part of the team at the Baby Green clinic at Humanitas Pio X, which specializes in feeding pregnant women, nursing mothers and children.
Aim and methods of the study
The aim of the Australian study was to study the association between maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and neonatal fat and inflammation.
More than a thousand samples of maternal blood, which were taken at the 28th week of gestation, and that of the umbilical cord were collected from the population of Barwon, and then compared. At the same time, data on maternal comorbidities were collected and measurements taken of the newborn at birth: the thickness of the aortic wall of the children was measured by trans-abdominal ultrasound. In a selected subgroup of term infants, maternal and marrow lipids, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and maternal soluble CD14 were also measured. The analysis was completed using pair correlation and linear regression.
At the end of the data collection it was possible to associate the maternal pre-pregnancy BMI with the increase in birth weight. A higher maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index was therefore associated with an increase in infant fatness and inflammation. It should be noted that these associations may also be partially influenced and mediated by maternal inflammation during pregnancy.
The word of the specialist
“The first cause of death in Italy and in the Western world is ischemic heart disease, which prematurely takes thousands of victims every year – concluded Dr. Goggi -. The preventive programs should not only address adults, in which atherosclerotic plaques have already appeared in most cases, but go further to the root still. And the place to prevent cardiovascular diseases is the family first and foremost: mothers whose diet abounds in cereals, legumes, dried fruit, vegetables and fruit (cholesterol-free and notoriously anti-inflammatory foods) lay the foundations for an excellent state of health of their children from the outset.