The Associations of Maternal Pre-Pregnancy Body Mass Index with Pregnancy and Infant Gut Microbiome (Michigan Study)

Written by
Dr Fathalla Ali, PHD Paediatrics

9/9/2020​

This study was conducted by researchers from Michigan State University to investigate the association between BMI before pregnancy and gut microbiota in late pregnancy (mothers) and early infancy (babies).

  • Researchers investigated 39 paired samples (dyads) with both a pregnancy and an infancy sample.
    The pregnant women were classified by pre-pregnancy BMI categories of normal (18.5 ≤ BMI < 25), overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30) or obese (BMI ≥ 30).
  • Gut microbiota was investigated during the third trimester for the mothers and during the first week of life for their infants.
  • The bacterial communities’ structure of overweight women differed by BMI category.
  • The mothers who were overweight before pregnancy had lower diversity than those of women were normal weight or obese prior to becoming pregnant.
  • Mothers who were overweight before pregnancy had higher colonization rate of Bacteroides than women who were normal weight or obese before becoming pregnant.
  • This difference could be due to diet, lifestyle or excessive gestational weight gain.
  • Infants microbiota were found to be affected by maternal characteristic and environmental influences such as mode of delivery, feeding and pre-pregnancy BMI.
  • Bifidobacteria was found higher among vaginally-born infants in overweight women but not obese women. This was attributed to 80% of vaginally born infants of overweight women and 33.3% of vaginally born infants of obese women were exclusively human milk fed.
  • In previous research, infants born to obese women, could be at greater risk for allergies, overweight, obesity and other chronic disease irrespective of mode of delivery. Therefore, breastfeeding plays a significant role to alter microbiota and reduce the risk of allergies, overweight/obesity in later life. 

Keywords: Pre-pregnancy body mass index, BMI, gut microbiota, Pregnant women, overweight women, obese women

Reference:

Sugino, K. Y., Paneth, N., & Comstock, S. S. (2019). Michigan cohorts to determine associations of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index with pregnancy and infant gastrointestinal microbial communities: Late pregnancy and early infancy. PloS one, 14(3), e0213733. Click here

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