Maternal obesity, poor nutrition in womb impairs fertility

pregnant-bellyNew research involving mice, published in the April 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal, suggests that maternal obesity and poor nutrition during pregnancy affects the egg reserves of female offspring.

This discovery improves scientific understanding of the long-term, generational, effects of obesity and poor nutrition. This understanding is the first step toward devising interventions to protect the fertility of females who experienced very difficult womb environments.

“Infertility can have devastating impacts on individuals and families, and our study will help to better identify women who are at risk of experiencing problems with their fertility,” said Dr. Catherine Aiken, a researcher involved in the work from the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories and MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, United Kingdom. “We hope to be able to devise ways to maintain future fertility for children who faced a very difficult nutritional environment in the womb.”

To make this discovery, Aiken and colleagues used mice fed either a high-fat and high-sugar (obesogenic) diet or a normal healthy diet during pregnancy. After which, their female offspring were weaned onto the same obesogenic diet or normal diet. The results showed low egg reserves in all of the daughters whose mothers ate a high-fat and high-sugar diet, regardless the daughters’ diet.



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