Babies of mothers with higher pre-pregnancy BMI are fatter, finds study

November 15, 2017

"Today about half of all women of childbearing age in the UK are overweight or obese. Importantly, the link between maternal BMI and amount of fat in the baby spreads across the entire range of BMI, meaning it's not just an issue for overweight and obese mums. We need to identify what the optimal BMI for the mother is so we can help women ensure that their bodies are in the best possible condition before they get pregnant."

Body mass index is calculated by dividing one's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres. The World Health Organisation classes a BMI between 18.5 and 25 as normal weight, between 25 and 30 as overweight and over 30 as obese. Of the 105 mothers in the study, five were underweight, 69 were normal weight, 23 were overweight and eight were obese.

The researchers used proton magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy to measure total adipose tissue and its distribution and intrahepatocellular lipid (the amount of fat inside liver cells). In adults, high levels of both correlate strongly with impaired control of blood sugar.

Source: Imperial College London