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Title: Studies on the metabolic adaptation to pregnancy
Author: Rouse, Karen Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 3538 3660
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1984
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This study was carried out to determine whether the raised perinatal mortality rate observed in Leicester's Asian population was related to abnormalities in the metabolic response to pregnancy. This was assessed by measuring blood metabolite levels in groups of Asian non-vegetarian, Asian vegetarian and Caucasian non-vegetarian women during pregnancy. Maximal plasma glucose and insulin concentrations during a glucose tolerance test increased as pregnancy advanced. The glucose levels were similar in all groups, but the Asians had higher insulin concentrations following an oral glucose dose in the first trimester. Asians therefore had a greater degree of insulin resistance than Caucasians. Plasma triglyceride and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels rose during pregnancy; there was no significant difference between the groups of women. Asian vegetarians had lower levels of branched chain amino acids throughout pregnancy, and lower levels of essential amino acids, particularly histidine, in the third trimester. In all groups, the percentage maternal weight gain was the same, and the birth weight and placental weight were a constant percentage of the maternal weight at 14 weeks. Asian women gave birth to smaller babies and had a greater number of spontaneous abortions, congenital malformations and perinatal mortalities. Similar metabolic studies on non-pregnant women showed little difference from the first trimester of pregnancy, although there was some evidence of early adaptation to pregnancy in lipid metabolism. The results of this study show that there are small but significant differences in the metabolic adaptation to pregnancy in the groups of women studied, and these may contribute to the higher perinatal mortality rate observed in Leicester's Asians. However, it is clear that Asians give birth to small babies because they themselves are small, and this fact alone may put these babies at greater risk of mortality and morbidity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physiology