BGU and Soroka University Medical Center researchers have found that
maternal obesity can cause neuropsychiatric issues in their offspring in a
long-term, pediatric study.
During pregnancy, obesity presents a significant challenge as it is a known
risk factor for adverse maternal, fetal and offspring outcomes. Over the long
term, obesity during pregnancy -- which has been studied extensively by BGU
researchers -- has already been found to be associated with future
cardiovascular morbidity, ophthalmic complications, especially diabetic
retinopathy and even malignancies such as ovarian and breast cancer in the
The goal of this research published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics was to examine the long-term effects
of maternal obesity on neuropsychiatric health aspects of the offspring up to
The retrospective cohort study compared the delivery outcomes of obese versus
non-obese mothers. It included 242,342 deliveries between 1991 and 2014 at
Soroka hospital, of which 3,290 were children of obese mothers.
“We found that compared to children born to non-obese mothers, this group had a
higher rate of neuropsychiatric-related hospitalizations, with specific
illnesses being more prevalent, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and other
psychiatric issues,” says Prof. Eyal Sheiner, director of the Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology at Soroka and vice dean for student affairs at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS). “It is therefore of
great importance to consult, educate and take other measures of intervention to
reduce pre-pregnancy obesity.”
The research team also included Zipora Feiga Neuhaus, Gil Gutvirtz, Dr.
Daniella Landau, Dr. Gali Priante of Soroka and the FOHS and Dr. Tamar
Wainstock, of BGU’s School of Public Health at FOHS.
The Times of Israel