Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Obesity during pregnancy alters maternal oxidant balance and micronutrient status

item Sen, Sarbattama
item Iyer, Chitra
item Meydani, Simin

Submitted to: Journal of Perinatology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2013
Publication Date: 1/19/2014
Citation: Sen, S., Iyer, C., Meydani, S.N. 2014. Obesity during pregnancy alters maternal oxidant balance and micronutrient status. Journal of Perinatology. 34:105-111.

Interpretive Summary: Over half the women of childbearing age are either overweight or obese. Both obesity and pregnancy separately cause inflammation. Further, obesity in pregnant women increases the chance of illnesses that can occur in a woman during pregnancy, many of which can also harm the developing child. This study intended to learn the effects of obesity on inflammation and nutrient levels in obese, pregnant women. Comparing 15 obese, pregnant women to 15 lean, pregnant women, we learned that obese women had significantly lower levels of several important micronutrients: folate, vitamins B6, E and C and higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory markers compared to non-obese pregnant women despite consuming the same pregnancy multi-vitamin supplement. Since oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and because low micronutrient levels are associated with higher oxidative stress and inflammation, these findings indicate that improving the status of the above nutrients in pregnant obese women might reduce obesity associated inflammation and improve obese pregnancy outcomes. Studies are needed to develop micronutrient supplements for pregnant women based on their weight and body-mass.

Technical Abstract: Objective: Little is known about the effect of obesity on inflammatory status in pregnant women. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of obesity on markers of inflammation, oxidative stress and micronutrient status in obese pregnant women compared to their lean counterparts. Study Design: This was a prospective case control study. Fifteen obese (BMI is greater than30) (Ob) and fifteen lean (BMI 18-25) (Lc) women were recruited based on pre-pregnancy BMI. Vitamins A, B6, C, E, 25(OH)D, zinc, red blood cell folate, C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, TNFa and oxidized and reduced glutathione were measured from maternal blood between 24-28 weeks of gestation. Results: Ob pregnant women have statistically significantly lower levels of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, RBC folate, higher CRP and IL-6 levels and higher ratio of oxidized to reduced glutathione compared to Lc pregnant women. Conclusion: Obese pregnant women have increased inflammation and oxidative stress, and lower levels of nutritional antioxidant defenses compared to lean pregnant women. We speculate that lower antioxidant defenses combined with increased oxidative stress and inflammation may contribute to the adverse outcomes associated with pregnancy in obese women (herein referred to as obese pregnancy).

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page