According to a study conducted at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital in Finland, published in the journal Pediatric Research, a mother’s health and lifestyle during pregnancy affect the neurodevelopment status of 2-year-old children.
The research project examined the development of children’s cognitive, language and motor skills. Maternal adiposity was determined by air displacement plethysmography and gestational diabetes by oral glucose tolerance test. In addition, dietary intake during pregnancy was assessed with diet quality indices and a fish consumption questionnaire.
“On average, infant neurodevelopment in our data was in the normal range. Our research results showed that 2-year-old children whose mothers were diagnosed with gestational diabetes had poorer language skills than children whose mothers were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.” Diabetes was not diagnosed.”
In addition, the study found that a higher percentage of maternal body fat was associated with weaker cognitive, language and motor skills in children. “Our observation is unique, as previous studies have not examined the association between maternal anatomy and children’s neurodevelopment,” the researchers emphasize.
On the other hand, the study also showed that better dietary quality of the mother’s diet was associated with better language development in the child, as was a higher intake of fish by the mother.
The experts conclude, “A healthy and comprehensive diet during pregnancy may be particularly beneficial for the neurodevelopment of children whose mothers belong to the risk group for gestational diabetes due to overweight or obesity.”