According to the research, mother’s nutritional or psychological stress during pregnancy and also during the lactation period may increase the child obesity in their later life, particularly for female kids.
The research is mainly focused on the functioning of neuropeptide Y, which is a neurotransmitter found in the brain and autonomic nervous system. This neurotransmitter is mainly associated with appetite stimulation and the storage of energy as fat.
The research found that stress during prenatal and postnatal period exerted long-term effects on the activation of NPY and its Y2 receptor (Y2R), and then it will ultimately result in fat cell creation and finally lead to obesity in the later life. Also, this stress causes gender-specific abdominal obesity as well as affects glucose metabolism which leads to higher levels of plasma NPY and fat Y2R.
Maternal stress can affect NPY and Y2R in various ways. Improper nutrition during pregnancy and some other types of stress can severely affect the fetal health by divesting the fetus from needed nutrition and exposing it to higher levels of stress hormones like nor epinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol. This can finally affect the metabolism and causes increased fat accumulation.
Also the risk of diabetes and obesity in children of stressed mothers depend upon how the child survived from the stress. Mothers who adopt passive coping style can cause increased weight gain and impaired glucose intolerance.
So, it is very important to avoid stress during pregnancy. For women who are under the stressful conditions, it is essential to learn the coping strategies. Also, children who react passively to the stress need to be trained to implement various coping strategies to reduce the risk of various health problems.