Picture




Sheryl Rifas-Shiman,
MPH

In the August 2017 issue of Pediatrics, several colleagues and I reported that mothers who consumed more sugary beverages – including sugary soda and fruit drinks – in mid-pregnancy had children with higher amounts of body fat in mid-childhood, even when we considered the children’s own intake of sugary beverages.  We also examined the effect of drinking water and 100% fruit juice during the same time period, and found no associations between these drinks and children’s later body fat.  We hypothesized that the second trimester of pregnancy may be a sensitive period with regards to children’s body fat deposits, and that avoiding high intake of sugary beverages during pregnancy may reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity.

Click on the Read More button for the Pediatrics’ press release…
 


 
 
Picture
A friend recently told me that she gained 30 pounds during the first trimester of her pregnancy. Because I work in obesity research, she asked me if that sounded like too much. I suggested that she talk to her doctor, and she said “Well, if it was a problem, wouldn’t my doctor bring it up with me?”

 
 
Picture





by Marie-France Hivert, MD, MMSc


Diabetes that appears for the first time in pregnancy is called gestational diabetes, and affects 5 to 20% of pregnant women. High blood sugar – also known as hyperglycemia – in pregnancy is associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and child, including higher rates of pre-eclampsia, caesarian section, babies born large for their gestational age and shoulder dystocia, and hypoglycemia in newborns. We also know that treatment of gestational diabetes decreases the risk of these complications.

 
 
Picture




by Emily Oken MD, MPH


I recently participated in a ‘debate’ about whether we should routinely weigh pregnant women. The debate, which I thought would make interesting fodder for this blog, was just published in the June 2015 edition of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I’ll try to get permission to also post the other side, “Routine weighing does not solve the problem of obesity in pregnancy”, which is currently behind a paywall.

Gestational weight gain (GWG) outside of recommended ranges is a common and growing public health challenge. Since 2000, the percent of US women gaining weight during pregnancy in excess of current guidelines increased 3% – from an already high 42.5% in 2000-1 to 45.5% in 2008-9. In combination with the ~20% of women with inadequate gain, almost 2/3 of women are now gaining outside of recommended ranges. 

 
 
Picture
Whenever we submit an application for research funding, a lot of thought goes into how we will recruit people to participate in the study. However, retaining participants –  getting them to continue to participate in the study after the initial interview, survey or visit - is actually the hardest part. The successful retention of study subjects relies on many factors. A key one is the dynamic of the study team.

 
 
Picture
In America, pregnant women receive a great deal of advice: Eat fish, but only the right kind and not too much. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t take certain over-the-counter medicines. The implication is that by taking these and other steps, a pregnant woman can ensure that her baby has the best possible start in life. But just how much can a pregnant woman do? How much responsibility does she bear for her uterine environment?

 
 
Picture




by Karen Switkowski, MPH, MS


 “I really want to get the salmon, but I can’t remember how many times I already had fish this week. Did we have that shrimp pasta on Sunday, or was that Saturday? I guess I’ll be OK if I have this now and we don’t make the tuna until next weekend…” Throughout my pregnancy, my husband had to listen to some version of this monologue every time we went out to dinner. Like many women, I had internalized the warning that I risked poisoning my baby with mercury if I ate seafood too often. Although I was also well aware of the importance of the nutrients found in fish and other seafood for fetal development, I was more concerned about consuming too much mercury that I was about not getting enough beneficial fatty acids in my diet.

 
 
Picture




by Matt Gillman, MD, SM


I’ve just returned from a week in South China. This trip was driven in part by the question of why China, along with India and other Asian countries, are hot spots for 21st century diabetes.  By 2030, ½ billion people on the planet will have type 2 diabetes. The majority will be in Asia. 

 
 
Picture





by Wei Perng, PhD


I have always loved dessert. As a researcher in the field of nutrition and obesity prevention, I am embarrassed to say that I love it more than “real food.” My mother believes that my unrelenting sweet tooth stems from her own preference for anything sweet when she was pregnant with me – pastries, donuts, ice cream, pudding, chocolate – you name it. I always thought this was an old wives’ tale until I stumbled upon some interesting literature while working on a book chapter on the effect of maternal diet on the long-term health of the child. Might we develop preferences for food even before we are born?

 
 
Picture




by Emily Oken, MD, MPH


This headline came up on my home page last week, linked to an Us Magazine story about a celebrity who had gained 40 pounds during her pregnancy, “and she’s not ashamed.” You might wonder, is she really ‘just like us?’ and more importantly, why should we care about pregnancy weight gain?