What are the consequences of your diet on your baby’s weight?

During pregnancy, we tend to follow the mantra to always “eat for two.” Eating what we want to eat is good for our morale and keeps us calm, however, according to a recent US study, eating an unbalanced diet can lead to a higher risk of obesity in your offspring.

The causes of obesity are multiple: psychological, environmental, due to stress, to a genetic mutation but also, according to a recent Californian study of rats, from the way our parents eat.

How was the study conducted?

In order to carry out this study, two types of rats were either fed on a western diet or a low fat diet that was rich in cereals: the first group naturally had a genotype which was resistant to obesity, while the second group was more vulnerable to this risk of obesity. Females were then given this specific diet, more, or less rich in fat, several weeks before conception until breastfeeding.

What were the results?

The researchers detected changes in the offspring of the female rats who had been fed a western diet, even among those who were naturally resistant to obesity. Indeed, all the rats born from a mother fed a western diet had a higher body weight and body fat than the other rats. Despite everything, the rats susceptible to obesity were the ones who had had the highest weight at birth. Once adults, they had a low energy expenditure, mainly as a result of hormonal disturbances.

The researchers concluded that a mother’s poor diet, even if she wasn’t overweight, increased the risk of obesity in her offspring. Of course, this would not be the only consequence of a diet high in fat;  it would also increase the risk of gestational diabetes in the mother.

The study also deduced that a western diet reduces the ability for rats most vulnerable to obesity to conceive (and therefore procreate) which raises the issue about how this diet can effect the fertility in overweight women.

Even if these results are not directly transferable to human beings, they do at least give us an idea on what is the best diet to optimise conception. It is also worth noting, that being thin, doesn’t always mean you are in good health. That’s why, at Maïa Baudelaire, we recommend a balanced diet even before conception. We do not remove fats, as these are indispensable. We know how demanding all this, that is why our Pregnancy Program not only includes menu suggestions customised to your tastes and needs but also regular follow-ups with a qualified dietician nutritionist who will give you the best advice.

Our diet will allow you to find your ideal weight, and if you are already at it, to fill you up with vitamins and minerals so you will have stress-free pregnancy and hopefully, a healthy infant, just like you!

*Frihauf, J., Fekete, É., Nagy, T., Levin, B. and Zorrilla, E. (2016). Maternal Western diet increases adiposity even in male offspring of obesity-resistant rat dams: early endocrine risk markers. American Journal of Physiology, 311(6), pp.R1045-R1059.

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