Mother’s health in relation to Infant’s health during pregnancy

Mother’s health in relation to Infant’s health during pregnancy

Many people know about certain health concerns that pregnant women specifically adhere to for the health of their fetus, such as avoiding drinking alcohol during pregnancy. However, there are many other factors regarding a mother’s health that can affect the infant’s health:

Maternal Obesity:

Maternal Obesity increases the risk of preterm labor as well as the risk of obesity and diabetes in the child. There was even a study that showed that 12 percent of babies born to obese mothers had frequent wheezing issues at 14 months old, compared to only 4 percent in babies born to normal-weight mothers.


Caffeine consumption is also a risk factor for pregnant women. A study found that more than even 6 ounces of coffee or the equivalent in caffeine in daily consumption was associated with the baby being born smaller than normal.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D Deficiency in maternal women is also associated with higher risk of diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and lower birth weight. Lower Birth weight is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.


Even the mother’s health practices early in the pregnancy can have lasting effects on the fetus. A Dutch study found that women who smoked, had high blood pressure or low folic acid levels in early pregnancy had babies that were smaller in the first trimester of pregnancy and had a higher risk of complications later. In general, when a woman is exposed to poor lifestyle habits in early pregnancy, it may affect development of the placenta, which then affects the fetus’ ability to survive and thrive.

General Stress:

The amount of general stress on the mother can also be a huge factor. Anxiety and Depression can affect how the baby’s brain develops. For example, the mother’s mood can affect the function of her placenta and if the mother is more anxious, there is less of the enzyme that breaks down the stress hormone cortisol, thus the development of her baby’s brain can be affected by being exposed to more cortisol.This in turn leaves the child at greater risk of anxiety, depression, slow learning or behavioral problems such as ADHD later. If the pregnant woman is in the top 15 percent of the population for symptoms of anxiety or depression this doubles the risk of her child having emotional or behavioral problems.


Overall, the pregnant mother needs to be cognizant of the amount of stress on her body and mind as well as her diet. A recent study by scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a mother’s nutritional status at the time of conception can permanently change the function of a gene that influences her child’s immunity and cancer risks. The diet a can be a possible risk factor for all the potential issues we have discussed.

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