LSU Health study finds changes in breast milk of women who were overweight or obese at the time of conception

Updated: Jun. 13, 2019 at 5:04 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A new study by LSU Health researchers highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy weight before you conceive.

“I think the main takeaway from this study is if you are planning to become pregnant and start a family you might want to consider what your current weight status is at that moment in time and decide if it’s at a healthy level, if not you may want to consider losing some weight,” said Henry Nuss PhD with LSU Health Public Health.

That’s important because LSU Health Researchers report they’ve found breast milk changes in women who were overweight or obese at the time they conceived.

“Conceiving during a period of time where the woman’s weight may be at an unhealthy level may be genetically programming that infant to become less responsive to breast milk meaning, that they will grow differently in response to the contents of the breast milk than an infant would that is born to a mom of a normal weight status,” said Nuss.

The researchers looked at hormone called Leptin.

“That’s responsible for helping you feel satiated. It helps you feel like your full, that you don’t need to eat as much,” said Nuss. “There was a direct correlation by the amount of leptin in circulation in the moms with overweight and obesity and that translated to higher levels in the breast milk and what we think might be happening there is the extra jolt of leptin in the breast milk was making those babies feel fuller sooner so they weren’t eating as much.”

Nuss adds, “They weren’t growing as well as the infants born to moms of a normal weight.”

But, it’s important to point out that Nuss says researchers aren’t saying anyone should stop breast feeding.

“That’s not the case at all. What this paper is mainly highlighting is there’s still a lot that we don’t understand, we’re learning things as we go,” said Nuss.

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