Pre-pregnancy weight affects infant growth response to breast milk

Posted on June 24, 2019

Breast milk content can vary depending on the mother’s weight status at the time of conception and further impact the growth and development of breastfeeding infants. Breast milk contains pro-inflammatory proteins such as tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-six (IL-6), as well as hormones like insulin and leptin, and anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3 (DHA) and omega-6 (EPA).

Researchers have been trying to understand the inter-relationships between the compounds in our blood and the breast milk in early postpartum women with normal BMI and with overweight/obesity before pregnancy to see if these components are correlated to infant growth measures at age 4-8 weeks.

Researchers have compared the polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammatory markers and hormones to infant weight, length, head circumstance and percent fat mass at 4-8 weeks postpartum with the same group of 33 women. It is found that pro-inflammatory qualities of breast milk were related with infant growth measures regardless of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI. However, infants born to women with overweight or obesity demonstrated having less responsive growth to breasts milk.

Researchers suggests that infants who are born to mothers of unhealthy weight status may be metabolically programmed to have a less favourable growth response to breast milk. Findings suggests that women of childbearing age who anticipate having a child should consider the weight status as a potential risk factor for adverse growth outcomes.

Category(s):Child Development

Source material from Science Daily

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