Digital Public Defence: Gun Lisbet Opheim

MD Gun Lisbet Opheim at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Fetal blood flow adjustments related to maternal nutritional status and food intake for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Ine Eriksen, UiO

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Niels Uldbjerg, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Cathrine Ebbing, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Henrik Holmstrøm, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Leiv Arne Rosseland, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor II Guttorm Haugen, University of Oslo


The fetal environment in utero will vary with maternal health, placental function and maternal nutritional status, and the fetus will adapt to its environment. It is believed

that there are critical time periods for fetal developmental, in which a negative influence may lead to irreversible phenotypic changes.

Our overall aim was to study fetal blood flow adjustments related to maternal and fetal blood glucose concentration, maternal nutritional status and food intake in normal pregnancies with healthy mothers and fetuses.

We used data from two studies with different design. The STORK 3 study is a prospective cohort study. The participants were examined by ultrasound at gestational week 30 and 36, before and after a maternal meal. The placenta 4-vessel study is a cross-sectional study based on participants scheduled for a planned cesarean section at gestational week 39, where an ultrasound examination was performed before, and maternal and fetal blood samples were collected during surgery.

After a maternal meal we found a significant fall in blood flow resistance to the brain, but no change in flow resistance to the placenta. We revealed an increase in liver flow after a maternal meal in gestational week 36, but no change in week 30.  Dividing the mothers in a normal- and an overweight group this association was even stronger for the normal weight group, but no longer present for the overweight group.  

We also investigated the role of umbilical vein glucose concentration and umbilical vein blood flow as major regulators in the distribution of glucose supply between the fetal liver and ductus venosus. We found umbilical vein blood flow rather than umbilical vein glucose concentration to be associated with the distribution, as relatively more blood were directed to the fetal liver with increasing umbilical vein blood flow.

Our findings indicate that maternal food intake and relatively small differences in maternal weight may affect normal fetal responses.

Additional information

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Published Apr. 8, 2021 4:31 PM - Last modified Apr. 27, 2021 9:40 AM