Healthy Diet During Pregnancy: Pregnant Women’s High-Fat Diet Impacts Gut Microbes Of Babies

The diet of pregnant women has an impact not only for the expecting mother but also on the unborn baby. In a new study, researchers have found that a woman's high-fat diet during pregnancy is associated with a lower number in the gut microbes of the children born to them.

EurekAlert reported that microbes are important for babies because it influences the development of their immune system. Microbes are also said to be necessary to facilitate the babies' capability to extract energy from the food they eat. Thus, fewer microbes in the babies' gut would affect their immunity and nutrition.

"We had previously shown in non-human primates that mothers who ate a high-fat diet during pregnancy and lactation affected the microbiome of their offspring up to a year of age," said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, senior author of the study, as per the report. Aagaard teaches obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor and Texas Children's Hospital.

In their study, the researchers took stool samples from 157 newborn babies within one to two days of their birth to see the level of microbes in the gut as represented by bacteria, reported Medical News Today. When they were four to six weeks of age, the stool samples of 75 of the babies were again taken.

To determine the level of fat intake of the babies' mothers during their pregnancy, the mothers were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding their food and drink intake. Newborn babies of women who had had higher daily fat intake were found to have lower level of gut microbes from their stool samples.

The 157 pregnant women were found to have a daily diet of fat ranging from 14 to 55. 2 percent, reported NDTV. Meanwhile, the pregnant women had an average daily fat intake of 33.1 percent. The study was published in the journal Genome Medicine. 

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