Babies born to obese mums at risk for iron deficiency

May 1st, 2011 - 2:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 1(ANI): A new study has revealed that babies born to obese mothers are at risk for iron deficiency, which could affect infant brain development.

In non-pregnant adults, obesity-related inflammation hinders the transport of iron through the intestine, increasing the risk of iron deficiency anemia.

When a woman is pregnant, iron is transferred through the intestine to the placenta, but it is not known how maternal obesity affects newborn iron status.

Fetal iron status is important because 50 percent of the iron needed for infant growth is obtained before birth.

The researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied 281 mother/newborn pairs.

The women’s body mass index was calculated before delivery, and a score of 30 or above was defined as obese. Investigators also determined infants’ iron level by analyzing umbilical cord blood.

Their results showed evidence of impaired iron status in newborns of women who were obese.

“These findings are important because iron deficiency in infancy is associated with impaired brain development, and we should understand all risk factors for iron deficiency in infancy,” said principal investigator Pamela J. Kling, associate professor of pediatrics/neonatology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The researchers are now investigating why obesity during pregnancy is a risk factor for poorer iron status at birth, Kling said.

The study was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Denver. (ANI)

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