Pregnant women with poor diets ‘could increase risk of birth defects’
Pregnant women who eat a poor diet could increase the risk of their children being born with birth defects, a study has suggested.
The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), involved two groups of pregnant mice – one fed a normal, balanced diet and the other fed a high-fat alternative.
In mice that lacked a gene called Cited2, the risk of congenital heart disease increased by over 50 per cent when the mothers were fed a high fat diet.
This group also experienced a seven-fold increase in the risk of their offspring being born with a cleft palate.
"We know that poor diet and defective genes can both affect development, but here we have seen the two combine to cause a much greater risk of developing health problems," said BHF professor Shoumo Bhattacharya.
The BHF suggests that those who are obese should aim to lose weight as their condition reduces life expectancy by about three years and greatly increases their risk of heart disease.
Does this information make you more inclined to eat healthily?