Fatty acids in pregnancy linked to cardiovascular disease in kids

Pregnancy (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Juliana Dacoregio)Pregnancy (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Juliana Dacoregio)

High amounts of essential fatty acids consumed during pregnancy may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in the kids.

This is the conclusion of researchers at Maastricht UMC+ after a long term study. The researchers studie the concentration of maternal fatty acids in a group of pregnant women in 1989. Seven years later, in 1996, they tested the children for risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers concluded that while certain essential fatty acids are known to have positive health effects and may play an important role in the development of a child, the beneficial health effects do not apply to unborn children.

When testing the children in 1996, the researchers found that the presence of certain Omega-3 fatty acids in the mother had adverse effects on the child's cholesterol level. Omega-6 fatty acids had a negative effect on the child's blood pressure and body mass index.

"Raising awareness of the importance of nutrition, and particularly for the consumption of fatty acids during pregnancy, can in theory help to program and influence the child development", according to Marij Gielen, head researcher.

The children in the study are now about 25 years old. Maastricht UMC+ is expanding their prenatal study to research whether the concentration of fatty acids during pregnancy had any effect on the development of obesity and academic performance in these kids now that they are adults.