Bethesda, MD-While there is never a bad time to address one's own obesity, if you're hoping to lose weight before conception for the sake of your child, here's some bad news: Some of the epigenetic damage might have already been done, even if you lose the weight just before conception. According to new research published in the September 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal, not only is dieting before getting pregnant not enough to prevent diabetes risks, but it could actually present new risks as well. Knowing how maternal health and behavior affect how genes express themselves in offspring should help health care providers and public health officials develop more precise prenatal strategies to maximize the health of newborn children.
"The findings of our study highlight that the nutritional health of the mother in the lead-up to and around conception can result in poor metabolic consequences for the offspring that will persist into later life," said Caroline McMillen, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia. "We hope that the findings of the present study will lead to a focus on how to help obese women lose weight in order to improve their fertility in a manner which does not impact negatively on the health outcomes of their offspring."