ISGlobal: Urine of pregnant women could be used to predict fetal growth and birth weight

ISGlobal: Urine of pregnant women could be used to predict fetal growth and birth weight

News from ISGlobal

The urine of pregnant women could be used to help identify lifestyle interventions that help maintain a healthy birth weight for their baby, according to a new study conducted by researchers from ISGlobal, the Imperial College London and CIBERESP, and published in BMC Medicine.

The researchers from ISGlobal collected urine samples and lifestyle questionnaire data from over 800 pregnant women, aged 28-33 years old, from two locations in Spain (Gipuzkoa and Sabadell) making it the most comprehensive study of urinary metabolites and fetal weight outcomes to date. The researchers used a technique called NMR spectroscopy to identify, for the first time, a panel of ten urinary metabolites in the third trimester of pregnancy that were associated with greater fetal growth and birth weight. These metabolites included steroid hormones and important biological building blocks called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

BCAAs are essential nutrients that are vital during pregnancy as an energy source for the growing fetus. In this study, changes in BCAAs and other metabolites detected in the urine were able to explain 12% of the variation seen in birth weight, independent of other known predictors such as parent’s own weight and maternal smoking or alcohol intake. The research compared the lifestyle and environmental exposures of the women in the study and found that the variability between BCAA profiles of individual mothers could be partially explained by levels of physical activity, vitamin D, coffee consumption and smoking exposure, suggesting to be potential areas of intervention to promote a healthy birth weight.

More information:
ISGlobal website

Reference work:
Lea Maitre, Cristina M Villanueva, Mathew R Lewis, Jesus Ibarluzea, Loreto Santa Marta, Martine Vrijheid, Jordi Sunyer, Muireann Coen, Mireille B Toledano, Maternal urinary metabolic signatures of fetal growth and associated clinical andenvironmental factors in the INMA study. BMC Medicine 2016. ISSN: 1741-7015.