Impaired liver function in women during pregnancy can increase the risk of obesity in kids by altering their gut bacteria, according to a study.
The study was presented at The Society for Endocrinology Annual Conference. The findings indicated that common liver disease in pregnancy altered composition of gut bacteria and impaired liver function in the offspring, especially when fed a high-fad diet, impairing metabolism.
“These findings further suggest that health during pregnancy can have long-term effects on children. In this case, they suggest that gut microbiome alterations may increase the risk of obesity in children when fed a western-style, high-fat diet,” said study researcher Caroline Ovadia from King’s College London.
The most common liver disease during pregnancy, Intrahepatic cholestasis (ICP) decreases the release of digestive fluid bile from the liver causing bile acids to build up in the blood. This could affect liver function and cause severe itching in mothers, increasing the risk of stillbirth and preterm birth.
Studies in the past have shown that children of mothers with ICP are more likely to develop childhood obesity. The new study further suggested that children at risk should have a healthy diet and that interventions to alter gut bacteria may help reduce childhood obesity rates in future.