Primary care clinicians realize the importance of timely and focused prenatal care. What might recent "bench to bedside" progress bring our profession during the next decade that may become even more critical? Here is a preview gleaned from animal studies.
A series of presentations at a recent meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction proposed that a mother's health at the time of conception influences significant epigenetic changes in the developing fetus that later manifest as birth defects, obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and hepatic steatosis. (1) Let's look at 4 studies that frame and try to explain these interesting scientific propositions. There will be much more to follow in the next few years.
EFFECTS OF MATERNAL HEALTH AT CONCEPTION
First, maternal diabetes at the time of conception can adversely affect the pregnancy as early as the 1-cell zygote stage. (2) Levels of ATP in diabetic mice oocytes were reduced when compared with those of nondiabetic controls. The oocytes of diabetic mice also had spindle defects...