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Pre-Pregnancy Body Weight Can Affect Early Development of Human Embryos: Study

Update Date: Nov 13, 2014 11:12 AM EST

Embryos of women who are overweight or obese at the time they conceive display distinct differences in early development compared to embryos from women of a health weight, according to a new study. 

The study provides strong evidence for a direct link between what mothers eat and the ability of their fertilized eggs to divide and grow. 

According to researchers, this could potentially have long-term health implications for any children born from these embryos. 

"Previous studies have indicated that a mother's weight at conception is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the children later in life," said Dr Roger Sturmey, from the HYMS Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research at the University of Hull in the press release. 

"What we have found here, is that being overweight at conception does appear to result in changes to the embryo at a very early stage, and that these changes are most likely the result of the conditions in the ovary in which the egg matured."

"These changes may reduce the chances of conception for overweight women, and may even have long-term health implications for the children of overweight and obese women."

The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction. 

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