The obesity epidemic is a popular topic in the media. Our news feeds are flush with articles about the dangers of obesity: hypertension, sleep apnea, cancer, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. In the OBGYN world, every month brings new journal articles about the dangers of obesity during pregnancy, everything from birth defects to obstetric complications to a higher risk of obesity in offspring. Recently, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine issued a committee opinion on the ways in which obesity affects fertility. So, how, exactly, does obesity affect fertility?
We’ve all heard about the “obesity epidemic” in America and about the increased risks associated with maternal obesity in pregnancy. But, a new body of research is uncovering risks of obesity that go beyond the infant’s risk for metabolic disorders and affect the infant’s brain development. Pregnancy is arguably the most important time period for neural development, and the ways in which maternal obesity and excessive weight gain in pregnancy can affect neural development are alarming.
I’ve covered numerous new studies relating to the effects of weight gain in pregnancy, but the most recent study covers the longest timespan yet: forty years. Prior research has shown that excess weight gain in pregnancy predisposes infants to obesity in childhood and adolescence. But what about in adulthood? A new study followed up with daughters forty years after their mothers were enrolled in a clinical trial in the 1960’s. Read on to learn about the surprising results.