Obesity in pregnancy hinders women's ability to fight infection

Pregnant women who are obese are less able to fight infections than lean women, which could affect their baby's health after birth and later in life, according to research to be presented Sunday, May 1, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.

" who are obese before have critical differences in their immune function during pregnancy compared to normal weight women, which has negative consequences for both mother and baby," said Sarbattama Sen, MD, lead author of the study and a researcher in the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children in Boston.

Obesity in pregnancy has been associated with an increase in infections such as chorioamnionitis, a condition in which the membranes surrounding the fetus and the amniotic fluid are infected. This can have serious consequences for both the mother and the baby.

Dr. Sen and colleagues from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University sought to determine whether obesity in pregnancy changes women's ability to fight off infections. They drew blood from 30 women who were 24-28 weeks pregnant to measure the presence of different cells and cell proteins that help fight infections. Fifteen women were obese before they became pregnant (body mass index higher than 30), and fifteen women had a normal (20-25).

Results showed that obese women had fewer CD8+ (cytotoxic T) cells and , which help fight infection, compared to lean women. In addition, obese pregnant women's ability to produce cells to fight infection was impaired.

"Maternal obesity has consequences for the mother and baby, which we are only beginning to understand," Dr. Sen concluded. "As the numbers of obese women of reproductive age increase, it is critical to understand the repercussions of this disease for future generations."

More information: To view the abstract, go to www.abstracts2view.com/pas/vie… .php?nu=PAS11L1_1406

Provided by American Academy of Pediatrics

not rated yet

Related Stories

Study suggests obese women should not gain weight

May 29, 2009

For years, doctors and other health-care providers have managed pregnant patients according to guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In 1986, ACOG stated, "Regardless of how ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

Aug 29, 2014

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

Aug 29, 2014

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments