New possibility for determining the birth weight of fetuses developed
There seems to be a new way to determine a baby's birth weight before the baby is even born. Researchers found that examining the mother's urine can help identify future birth weight. In the future, babies with a low weight may be identified and countermeasures can be initiated quickly.
The Biomed Central scientists found that examining a mother's urine enables the child's birth weight to be calculated. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "BMC Medicine".
Low birth weight can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity
Abnormal fetal growth and low birth weight are well-established risk factors for chronic diseases later in life, the experts explain. Such diseases include, for example, the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Urinary metabolites are linked to the growth of the fetus
The scientists used a technique called NMR spectroscopy to identify a panel of ten urinary metabolites in the third trimester of pregnancy. These were associated with the growth of the fetus and an increased birth weight, the specialists explain. The metabolites included steroid hormones and important biological building blocks, which are referred to as BCAAs.
Changes in BCAAs affect birth weight
BCAAs are vital nutrients during pregnancy. They serve as an energy source for the growing fetus, the researchers say. Changes in BCAAs and other metabolites can be measured in the urine. With the measurement, medical professionals were able to detect changes of up to 12 percent in the birth weight of the fetus. Factors such as the parents' own weight and maternal smoking had no effect on the results.
Doctors examine urine samples from 800 pregnant women
The research team collected urine samples and lifestyle questionnaire data from over 800 pregnant women between the ages of 28 and 33 for its investigation. The study was the most comprehensive study to date on urea metabolites and fetal weight, the authors say.
Further research on the subject is urgently needed
An experimental study is required to determine the exact cause and effect, the scientists explain. The evidence from the baseline study highlights the value that the metabolic profiling of pregnant women can have in the preparation of pregnancy plans. (as)