Baby’s Critical Stages Of Development In The Womb

Obstetrics & Gynecology

29 Oct 2023 | 0 | by kjh

2568090login-checkBaby’s Critical Stages Of Development In The Womb

At Tufts Medical Center, the Mother Infant Research Institute provides research regarding the lifelong consequences of the intimate and unique biological relationship between mother and baby during pregnancy.  Tufts encourages women to join research studies, learn about baby’s development during pregnancy and the vital role of the mother during pregnancy in regard to the baby’s health.

Medical research has already established that events that occur at critical stages of human development in the womb influence the later occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and inflammatory disorders, such as asthma, in both childhood and adulthood.

The in-utero environment has a profound influence on the developing fetus, altering his or her gene expression and therefore affecting lifelong health.  Pregnancy is also a “stress test” for later health problems in the mother, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

One area that Tufts Mother Infant Research Institute has investigated is the role of obesity in pregnancy. Recent data from NICHD suggests that excessive weight gain in pregnancy, regardless of pre-pregnancy BMI, also predisposes to hypertension, preeclampsia, and infant cardiac defects.  What that means is that even if you are a healthy weight before pregnancy, excess weight gain during pregnancy is not good for the baby’s health.  These are things that many obstetricians may not discuss with pregnant patients.

Tufts also does a lot of research regarding preterm birth and  how placental function is altered by the maternal environment.

Normal growth and function of the placenta are essential for maternal and fetal health, both during pregnancy and later in life. Placental dysfunction can lead to preterm birth, preeclampsia (a hypertensive disorder caused by placental dysfunction), and loss of life. Mothers who have had preeclampsia are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary artery calcification. Babies who were exposed to preeclampsia are at a higher risk for hypertension and increased BMI into their teenage years and have an increased stroke risk later in life.

For more information about the exciting research at Tufts Mother Infant Research, visit:

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