Obesity, lifestyle and pregnancy

There is a high prevalence of maternal obesity in current obstetric practice.  The effects of maternal adiposity can manifest in almost all aspects of female reproduction including increased risk of antenatal and perinatal complications that impact on both maternal and fetal health.  Maternal obesity may also have long-term health implications for the offspring that originate in utero.  Adipose tissue is an essential repository of fatty acids during early pregnancy and lean and obese women gain similar amounts of fat.  We are interested in understanding where maternal fat accumulates during pregnancy and how its accumulation and function is altered in the obese mother.  We are studying interventions that prevent excessive or ectopic fat accumulation with the potential to reduce adverse maternal and fetal outcomes.

Selected Publications:

  1. Freeman DJ.  The effects of maternal obesity on foetal growth and body composition: implications for programming and future health.  Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicne 2010;15:113-8.
  2. Nelson SM, Fleming R, Stewart F, Freeman DJ.  Longitudinal assessment of Anti-Müllerian hormone during pregnancy - relationship with maternal adiposity, insulin and adiponectin.  Fertility and Sterility 2010;93(4):1356-8.
  3. Kanagalingham MG, Nelson SM, Freeman DJ, Ferrell WR, Lowe GD, Greer IA and Sattar N.  Vascular dysfunction and alteration of novel and classic cardiovascular risk factors in mothers of growth restricted offspring: evidence of higher vascular risk even in reproductive years.  Atherosclerosis 2009;205:244-50.
  4. Meyer BJ, Freeman DJ.  Role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy: Need for increasing awareness among women.  AgroFood Industry Hitech 2008;19(4):suppl 17-19.
  5. Stewart F, Rodie VA, Ramsay JE, Greer IA, Freeman DJ, Meyer BJ.  Longitudinal assessment of erytherocyte fatty acid composition throughout pregnancy and post partum.  Lipids 2007;42(4):335-44.
  6. Stewart FM, Freeman DJ, Ramsay JE, Greer IA, Caslake M, Ferrell WR. Longitudinal assessment of maternal endothelial function and markers of inflammation & placental function throughout pregnancy in lean and obese mothers.  JCEM 2007;92(3):969-75.