It turns out that consuming a diet high in fat could not just affect your physical health, it could also have negative effects on your unborn child’s mental health and brain development. At least this is what a new study is claiming.
Though further research is needed to support their findings, it is enough to emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while pregnant. Based on their findings, researchers believe that obese moms-to-be are more at risk of giving birth to babies who grow up to be more nervous and anxious, as compared to those born to moms who were on a normal, healthy diet.
Neurons essential to brain development and mood balance were also found to be inhibited in babies whose moms were constantly fed a diet high in fat.
Though the studies were done on pregnant Japanese monkeys, specifically macaques, there is enough evidence to warrant further investigation, especially considering previous studies, which have found links between maternal obesity and disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, and cognitive function impairments.
The researchers want to make clear that this venture is not intended to “shame” or judge overweight and obese moms, but they’re seeking to provide solutions to make sure all moms have healthy and happy pregnancies.
“It’s about educating pregnant women about the potential risks of a high-fat diet in pregnancy and empowering them and their families to make healthy choices by providing support,” said study author Elinor Sullivan in a statement sent to Medical Daily. “We also need to craft public policies that promote healthy lifestyles and diets.”
As a mom-to-be, it’s up to you to make sure your baby gets the nourishment she needs even while she’s in the womb. But remember not to take your own well-being for granted. Consult your OB-Gyne about the best diet for you and your baby’s needs and, if needed, ways to lose weight the right way to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
sources: Medical Daily, Medical News Today, Oregon Health & Science University