Possible Link Between Maternal Obesity And Cognitive Impairment In Premature Infants

Researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have conducted a new research study in which maternal obesity appears to impact the development of the brain in extremely premature babies.

The study which is published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, followed 921 babies born before 28 weeks of gestation at a lower-than-normal birth weight. The infants were administered tests to examine their cognitive skills when they reached 2 years of age.

The babies were tested by using the Mental Development Index (MDI) contained within the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The researchers determined that premature infants (those born at less than 7 months) whose mothers were obese were at an increased risk of experiencing developmental delays compared to premature babies of non-obese mothers.

The link between maternal obesity and premature infant cognitive impairment is believed to be caused by inflammation which damages the developing brain of the fetus. Blockages in blood vessels may be responsible for impairing the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. Full-term babies born to obese women were not affected. At this time, the researchers are still attempting to determine the exact process responsible for developmental delay among premature babies born to obese women.

The researchers will continue to follow the progress of the children involved in the study. Further tests will be administered as the babies grow older in order to determine whether the developmental delays noted at age 2 continue to impact the children through mid-childhood.

While more research is needed, it appears that losing excess weight before getting pregnant may be beneficial for both the mother and her baby. Although cognitive delays may occur randomly in the general population, developmental delay is more common among premature infants of obese mothers.

Source: The Inquisitr

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.