According to researchers associated with the Dorian consortium, children of obese mothers are more likely to develop heart disease, have a stroke, or develop type 2 diabetes. Additional research suggests children of obese mothers are likely to suffer mood disorders in adulthood.
The Dorian consortium is funded by the European commission and has been running for three years.
Researchers at University of Helsinki found that people whose mothers were obese in late pregnancy had an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. For the study, researchers used data from more than 13,000 people who had been followed from their birth in the 1930s and 40s up to the present.
Analysis of a sample of 90 mothers and their offspring revealed that children’s body weight and cardiac development was influenced by both pre-pregnancy weight and the weight gained during pregnancy. Another important factor was the weight gained between pregnancies.
Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said women should try to be an ideal weight before they become pregnant. “This report adds more to our knowledge about the importance of the environment in which the foetus is nurtured,” she said.
“After birth, women need support to develop healthy patterns of eating and exercise for themselves and their family. For women who are overweight or obese they need support and signposting to access weightloss services to ensure that they are an ideal weight before they embark on their next pregnancy.”