Children are most definitely our most prized resource. Our future depends entirely on how they are going to deal with what we leave them. So naturally, they need plenty of protection until they become able to take care of themselves. But in some cases, we can’t even begin to protect them, as a lot of children these days are born with various conditions.
With the recent Zika pandemic and plenty other of birth defects that many children are born with, scientists are understandably trying to figure out how to prevent at least some of them. And in one case they might just be on the right track, as diabetes and obesity may lead to overly large babies.
Pregnancy diabetes screening
Currently, pregnant women are routinely scanned for diabetes in their sixth month of pregnancy (24 weeks). At least, that’s what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends. The researchers behind the current study would beg to differ, as it turns out that diabetes during the pregnancy can lead to the baby being affected far earlier than the 24 weeks mark.
However, even if some cases of pregnancy diabetes can’t really be detected until the 28th week, researchers still recommend that the screening is performed earlier and repeatedly, especially for obese women. It turns out that the baby can be affected by the 20th week, so that’d about when the diabetes testing should start.
Even though it was known that obese and diabetic women tend to give birth to abnormally large babies, it was only just proven that the baby starts being affected far earlier than previously believed. And even though being obese has bigger chances of generating an overgrown baby, the risks to which the babies are exposed are pretty much the same.
First of all, it can severely complicate childbirth, leading to a forceful C-section. Next, it can lead to the babies having dangerously low blood sugar and having trouble breathing soon after delivery. But there are even some long-term effects, with these babies often being at a high risk of diabetes and/or obesity themselves.
The experts recommend a few ways of avoiding causing harm to your baby before it is born. For one, weight loss is the most efficient before or during pregnancies. A 2013 study showed that losing a modest amount of weight after a pregnancy halved the chances of the next baby also being overgrown.
Still, as expected, a healthy diet and a proper lifestyle are vital for a fetus’ development. Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day is also vital, at least until a certain point in the pregnancy. The experts also mentioned that the weight gained during pregnancy should be halved for obese women compared to regular BMI women.
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