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gastroschisis: study findings

picture of teen girl The younger the mother, the higher the risk for having a baby with gastroschisis. What is the biologic explanation for this striking pattern? We investigated nutritional and reproductive factors, theorizing that teen mothers themselves may still be growing, thus competing with their unborn babies for nutrients. Here's what we've found.

UNDERWEIGHT MOTHERS AT RISK

bullet Babies with gastroschisis are born 3 times as often to mothers who are underweight; risk is reduced for overweight mothers reference information
bullet Mothers of infants with gastroschisis started menstruating at about the same age as other girls, but have a shorter interval between their first period and their first pregnancy. reference information

DIETARY FACTORS IMPORTANT

bullet Low vegetable and fruit consumption is associated with a 3 times higher risk of gastroschisis.
bullet A 3-4 fold risk increase is noted with low intake of carotenoids (found in fruits and vegetables) or glutathione (from animal protein or fruits/vegetables). Both nutrients are antioxidants and may protect the fetus from oxygen stress.
bullet High dietary levels of nitrosamines (found in preserved meats and beer) more than double the risk. reference information

MANY MOTHERS HAVE DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS

bullet Women who faced greater social and economic challenges during childhood/young adulthood are more likely to have babies with gastroschisis.
bullet These disadvantages included not completing high school, having low or middle income level, living with but not married to the baby's father, growing up without her own father in the home and not knowing if her mother smoked (often because she was raised by someone else). reference information PDF file


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gastroschisis by age graph

RELATED TOPICS
bullet Diet and nutrition
bullet Body Mass and Obesity

 


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