EGA Institute for Women's Health


Pregnancy: a predictor for future health

During pregnancy, almost every organ of the mother's body has to work harder in order to meet the demands of the developing fetus. Women with chronic disease struggle to fulfil these physiological demands. As a consequence, pregnancy outcome can be compromised and long-term maternal health may be threatened. 

Gestational syndromes generally develop in the second half of pregnancy when the physiological burden of pregnancy is at its greatest. For example, the progressive insulin resistance of pregnancy acts as a stress-test that transiently unmasks carbohydrate intolerance which we term “gestational diabetes mellitus” in women who are predisposed to type-2 diabetes. Childbirth leads to remission of the maternal condition, but the disease returns in later life when the effects of aging and weight gain expose a persistent vulnerability to diabetes. 

We are currently investigating the consequences of acute fatty liver of pregnancy and peripartum depression on future maternal health.