#402: Prof. Leanne Redman – Pregnancy, Maternal Diet & Intergenerational Transmission of Obesity

In Podcasts by Danny Lennon3 Comments

Guest Information


Professor Leanne Redman, PhD

Prof. Leanne Redman is a Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, USA. There, she is director of the Reproductive Endocrinology & Women’s Health Laboratory. The lab's focus is on the intergenerational transmission of obesity, as well as other outcomes related to the maternal diet and fat mass.

She has also published extensively on the quantification of energy balance and how it relates to human physiology. Her publications have covered energy metabolism, insulin sensitivity, obesity, calorie restriction, exercise and pregnancy.

In this episode we discuss:

  1. Intergenerational transmission of obesity
  2. Maternal obesity increases the risk for adverse pregnancy and offspring outcomes; however, with large heterogeneity.
  3. Prolonged exposure to excess glucose and triglycerides in the mother, promote fetal fat accretion
  4. Distinguishing between metabolically unhealthy obesity and metabolically healthy obesity in determining risk
  5. How obesity "complements" preeclampsia
  6. Rates of weight gain in pregnancy: evidence-based recommendations
  7. Should weight loss be an intervention in pregnancy?
  8. The recently-launched “Obecity, USA” campaign by Pennington

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  1. This was a great interview, thank you. The work doctor Redman is doing is critically needed at this time. However, I would be concerned about weight/fat loss during gestation because of the release of environmental toxins that have accumulated in the maternal adipose tissue.
    I counsel women who are pregnant advise them against losing weight during pregnancy due to the risks of toxin exposure to the fetus. Of course if their doctor advises them to lose weight I cannot advise them otherwise, as I’m a registered dietitian.
    I would be curious to know your thoughts on this matter. Thank you

    1. Author

      Hi Pam,

      Are there any documented reports of this occuring? I’m aware of some data on this in post-bariatric surgery, where large weight losses are seen. And given that PCBs were banned in the 70s, it seems it was mostly an issue for older people, if I remember correctly?

      I am also aware of a study on an intermittent fasting weight loss diet that saw increased presence of toxins in the blood after weight loss. But in that study, all health markers (including oxidative stress) improved, and so perhaps questioning if that level of toxin release was a problem. It may be that the body can effectively deal with it, and thus the weight loss is helping with detoxification to some degree?

      I’m unsure, and don’t have a strong opinion either way.

      But in any of the pregnancy-weight loss data I’m aware of, I don’t know of any negative impacts on the fetus to have resulted.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Thank you for interviewing Dr. Redman and bringing attention to this critically important problem. However, is it really a good idea to advise pregnant women to lose weight/body fat as the risk of releasing stored environmental toxins from their adipose tissue is a real one as they could affect the fetus negatively. What are your thoughts on this risk factor for generational obesity?

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