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Associations between maternal lifestyle factors and neonatal body composition in the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (Cork) cohort study

10 Nov 2017

AbstractBackgroundNeonatal body composition likely mediates fetal influences on life long chronic disease risk. A better understanding of how maternal lifestyle is related to newborn body composition could thus inform intervention efforts.MethodsUsing Cork participant data (n = 1754) from the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) cohort study [ECM5(10)05/02/08], we estimated how pre-pregnancy body size, gestational weight gain, exercise, alcohol, smoking and diet were related to neonatal fat and fat-free mass, as well as length and gestational age at birth, using quantile regression. Maternal factors were measured by a trained research midwife at 15 gestational weeks, in addition to a 3rd trimester weight measurement used to calculate weight gain. Infant body composition was measured using air-displacement plethysmography.ResultsHealthy (versus excess) gestational weight gain was associated with lower median fat-free mass [−112 g, 95% confidence interval (CI): −47 to −176) and fat mass (−33 g, 95% CI: −1 to −65) in the offspring; and a 103 g decrease in the 95th centile of fat mass (95% CI: −33 to −174). Maternal normal weight status (versus obesity) was associated with lower median fat mass (−48 g, 95% CI: −12 to −84). At the highest centiles, fat mass was lower among infants of women who engaged in frequent moderate-intensity exercise early in the pregnancy (−92 g at the 95th centile, 95% CI: −168 to −16). Lastly, women who never smoked tended to have longer babies with more fat mass and fat-free mass. No other lifestyle factors were strongly related to infant body composition.ConclusionsThese results suggest that supporting healthy maternal lifestyles could reduce the risk of excess fat accumulation in the offspring, without adversely affecting fat-free mass development, length or gestational age.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Epidemiology