A new study from the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland suggests that it is unsafe to drink any quantity of alcohol during pregnancy as it blocks the growth of blood vessels in the placenta causing the risk for the baby to be born with low birth weight.
The study included rats to check the effect of alcohol. The alcohol exposure was associated with the risk of 17% lower birth weights and 32% less blood vessel growth in the placenta.
Study co-author Dr Jacinta Kalisch-Smith, a placental researcher at the University of Oxford, says: “This has implications for human health by helping to explain, in part, why babies exposed to alcohol in the womb are often born small. The next part of this project is to see whether nutrient supplementation can reduce or even prevent the adverse effects of alcohol exposure.”
New research from the Washington State University finds that mice that performed physical exercises during pregnancy gave birth to offspring that were less likely to gain weight from high-fat diet later in life.
In the study, the scientists examined the offspring of mice that were engaged in moderate-intensity exercise for 60 minutes every morning during pregnancy. A group of offspring born from non-exercising mice was considered as a control group.
Lead researcher Jun Seok Son, a doctoral student, says: “Our data suggest that the lack of exercise in healthy women during pregnancy can predispose their children to obesity and associated metabolic diseases partially through impairing thermogenic function.”
Recent research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louise, US, suggests that pregnant women who eat a diet high in fat and sugar during pregnancy increase their child’s risk of having heart issues in the future.
For their study, the researchers used a mouse model. They found that most of the children of obese mouse mothers who ate an unhealthy diet had an increase in weight of the left ventricle, a part of the heart that pumps blood out of the heart.
Co-senior author Dr. Abhinav Diwan, an associate professor of medicine at Washington University, comments: “The cardiac abnormalities seem to dissipate somewhat over the generations, which is intriguing. There were also differences in male and female hearts that we can’t explain yet. In many ways, this study presents more questions than it answers, and we plan to continue studying these mice to help answer them.”
A new study, executed by researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois, US, finds that giving birth shortens a woman’s life by up to two years. That means the more children a woman has, the shorter her lifespan may be.
For the study, the researchers examined 3,200 women aged from 20 to 22 years in the Philippines. They found that every birth has a damaging effect at the cellular level, having looked at two markers of cellular aging —telomere length and epigenetic age. These two factors may predict mortality.
Lead author Calen Ryan says: “Both [markers] appeared ‘older’ in women who had more pregnancies in their reproductive histories. Even after accounting for other factors that affect cellular aging, the number of pregnancies still came out on top.”
Folic acid’s key role is to make new cells by helping produce genetic material, DNA and RNA. That’s why folic acid is so important during periods of rapid cell growth, like pregnancy. Folate also acts in red blood cells and might protect against developing heart disease and breast cancer.
Insufficient levels of folic acid can be a reason of many serious health issues such as high risk of cervical, colon, brain, and lung cancer. That’s why it is recommended for women of childbearing age consume at least 400 mcg of folate daily. Pregnant women or those who are planning to become pregnant should have up to 600 mcg each day.